After heartbreaking shootout losses in the title game each of the previous two years, Brandt’s Creek Pub wasn’t about to take no for answer again in 2011.
Brandt’s took down the regular-season champion Kelowna City Rangers 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Mission sports fields to win the Kelowna Men’s Soccer League Premier Division championship.
With a little more depth on their roster, and a game plan to grind down and frustrate the Rangers most skilled players, Brandt’s was able to control the majority of the play.
“We saw a lot of (the Rangers) this year, so we knew how they played and what they were going to try and do,” said Brandt’s player/coach Matt Arruda. “I think our depth won it for us, we just wore them down. We played them hard and didn’t give them a chance to get going.”
Veteran Kyle Bilinski scored in the 30th minute to give Brandt’s the lead, then added his second of the game on a pass from Gary Allen in the 55th minute to make it a two-goal edge.
The Rangers finally broke through with about 15 minutes to play when Justin Kandola found the back of the net, but Brandt’s held firm the rest of the way.
The Rangers, who finished first in the regular season with 17-1-2 record, simply couldn’t solve Brandt’s pressure or defensive play.
Brandt veterans Dan Vicaretti, Sean Murphy and Mike Jaschke made life miserable for the Rangers skilled and normally dangerous trio of Kyle Logan, Alain Oenema and Dan Hunt.
“It was a well-fought game, (Brandt’s) had a plan and stuck to it,” said Rangers player/coach Kyle Logan. “They won everything from us and didn’t give us a chance to settle down. We won our games on skill this year, we had to grind it out and couldn’t play the way we wanted.
“It was a good season,” added Logan. “We’ll look to build on it for next year.”
For Brandt’s, the win was particularly satisfying after losing the final in both 2009 and 2010 to Timberline, both in shootouts.
“The guys just wanted it,” said Arruda. “Looking back at the last two years, it made everybody hungrier. We have a few older guys, in their late 30s and pushing 40, so for a few of them, I think they really wanted to get this one. A lot of hard work went into it this year, and the guys just grinded it out.”
It was Brandt’s seventh KWSL championship win in the last decade.