Andy Watson

VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes earned their first national semifinal appearance in seven years with a 3-2 win – determined by kicks – over the Montreal Carabins in the fourth and final quarter-final at the 2011 CIS men’s soccer national championship in a primetime thriller at Centennial Stadium in Victoria on Thursday evening.

Gavin Barrett of Richmond, B.C. – one of three Barrett brothers on the Vikes team – scored once in regulation, once in extra time and once more in the kicks from the penalty spot to help his squad to victory. Colin Parenteau-Michon of Montreal opened the scoring for the Caribins in the 9th minute and Vincent de Bruille of Schaerbeek, Belgium, scored to put Montreal up 2-1 in the 111th minute.

But Barrett’s game-tying goal three minutes later in the 114th minute – his second goal off a corner kick on the day – forced kicks from the penalty spot, won on a 4-2 margin by the tournament host Vikes. UVic had goals in the kicks from CraigTaylor of Victoria, Peter Richmond of Victoria, and Gavin and Wesley Barrett, both of Richmond, B.C. Montreal’s goals in kicks came from Maxime Laurey of St-Germain-en-Laye, France, and Parenteau-Michon. Sylvain Willot of Sainte-Catherine les Arras, France, was stopped by Vikes netminder Elliot Mitrou of Victoria, while de Bruille missed the net.

The final kick from Wesley Barrett glanced off the post and in, causing a roar of enthusiastic eruption from the pro-Vikes crowd of 2,142 as his UVic teammates poured onto the field.

Both teams played in what was, arguably, the most entertaining and high-action quarter-finals of the night.

“This was exactly what CIS soccer is about,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “This was an absolutely fabulous game played in front of a great crowd, in front of a great alumni turnout with tremendous media attention. It’s great that these fans got to see such a good game from both teams.”

Montreal – the Quebec regular season champions who were looking to book a ticket to the semifinals for the first time since 2008 when they won the bronze medal 2-1 in extra time over Laval – played a strong game using their speed up front to create havoc for UVic.

“We did not want to give up two goals and we need to fix that if we hope to keep advancing,” Mitrou said. “We know the games are only going to get harder now. Having this crowd to push us when we need it, it’s great and it’s definitely home-field advantage.”

The last time Victoria qualified for the national semifinals was in 2004 – that season they won their fourth title in school history with a 3-1 victory over McGill in the championship match.

The Vikes will face the Cape Breton Capers at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Centennial Stadium. The Capers defeated the McMaster Marauders 2-1 in extra time on a goal in the 119th minute from Ian Greedy. Montreal will face the Marauders will face the loser in the consolation semifinal at 1:30 p.m. on Field 2.

Saint Mary’s and Alberta face off in the other Friday semifinal (4:30 p.m. PST) at Centennial Stadium, while Toronto and McGill will face each other in the other consolation semifinal at 11 a.m. on Field 2.

In Thursday’s final quarter-final, teams exchanged chance after chance in a thrilling game of back-and-forth soccer.

Parenteau-Michon opened the scoring for Montreal off a free kick from almost 40 yards out that Mitrou said he would have liked to have back.

“Tomorrow we’ll have to get everyone on the same page and have everyone focussed,” Mitrou said. “It gets harder now. We know we cannot let two goals against us again.”

Gavin Barrett tied the game on a header off a corner kick from Andrew Ravenhill of Victoria in the 41st minute to tie the game at 1-1 entering the half.

In the second half, the Vikes carried the momentum but could not find the go-ahead goal. Montreal enjoyed most of the possession in the 30 minutes of extra time and were eventually rewarded with the go-ahead goal.

Gatorade player of the game Cam Hundal, the 2011 Canada West rookie of the year, waselectric all night for the Vikes, displaying great footwork and creating many great opportunites from the wing on one-on-one matchups against Carabins’ defenders Jordan Derrien of Brest, France, and Alexandre Papale of Montreal.

Hundal of Surrey, B.C., had a chance to win it for UVic in the dying minutes of regulation as he collided with Montreal goalkeeper Nizar Houhou on a 50-50 ball in the 88th minute, but the ball slid just past the left post. Houhou was shaken up on the play but remained in the game.

In extra time, both teams enjoyed chances – including two more from Hundal creating chances along the wing – but strong defending and timely anticipation from both goalkeepers kept the game deadlocked at 1-1.

After some considerable pressure in the UVic end, de Bruille came up from his fullback spot to drive home the go-ahead but three minutes later, in the 114th minute, Gavin Barrett scored his second of the night heading home another corner-kick from Miguel Romeo of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to force kicks – a seemingly unfortunate way to have to determine a winner in a classic match.

“It’s absolutely euphoria to win this one,” said Mitrou. “I was shattered when they scored the go-ahead goal, but hen we tied it I was so happy. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever felt when they scored in extra time. I just feel relief.”

Gavin Barrett scored what proved to be the game-winner in kicks and his brother Wesley ended the contest with the successful kick to put UVIc up 4-2 and win the game.

“Gavin’s our man of the match, what can I say,” Wilson said. “We beat a very good team today. I’m very proud of the team. We battled through a few little injuries and for a guy we recruited as a striker to fill in at centre back this year andplay as well as he has there and score two big goals and then another in penalty kicks, he’s been a leader for us all season.”

Montreal head coach Pat Raimondo said he was pleased with the performance of his young team. All will return next year and will have at least one more game of national-tournament experience under their belts depending on the outcome of Friday’s consolation semifinal against McMaster.

“I’m proud of our guys, we’re a young team and we came to get experience here and took a very good team to extra time and penalty kicks,” Raimondo said. “We hope to be back at nationals next year and this team will only get better.”

“This was a great game for the CIS and for soccer.”

Scoring Summary

Victoria 3 Montreal 2 (4-2 K)

UVIC: 0-1-0-1: 3 (4)

MTL: 0-1-0-1: 2 (2)

(UVic wins 4-2 K)