Ponoka Storm’s U17 boys had a running chance at a win against Camrose before a red card put it all to a halt.
Storm played against the Camrose Vikings May 30 at home and they appeared to be on a roll. Ponoka managed the first goal of the game, which was a boost as Camrose is considered one of the better teams in the league this season — at press time two of their players accounted for 18 goals.
Play was moving quickly with Camrose looking to gain some momentum. At one point during the first half, a Vikings player was right in the middle of the action close to Ponoka’s net when Storm captain Kyle Sluggett is said to have pulled the opposing player down, causing not only a penalty, but also a red card, which is a removal from the game.
At the time coach Rich Evans felt it was a “dubious” call.
“We had a guy sent off for a push in the area…I think it should have been a yellow,” said Evans.
Camrose scored in that penalty to bring the game to 3-1.
Evans referred to a recently revised rule in FIFA related to goal scoring opportunities in the penalty area. In the soccer world, the rule used is: DOGSO (denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity) during regular soccer play where a player would receive what is called “triple punishment”. That means they would get a red card, a penalty kick against the team and a suspension from the game, forcing the team to compete with 10 players rather than 11.
The new rules state that if a player makes deliberate efforts — as opposed to regular the course of play — to prevent the other team from scoring within the penalty area, they will receive the triple punishment.
That red card meant Ponoka was competing 10 against 11, which seemed to knock the wind out of the team and they lost 7-2.
Referee Rob McArthur said he and Evans spoke for some time after the game about the call and both did some research into the changed DOGSO rule. McArthur confirmed that the rule applies to an athlete making a non soccer play; the red card stands.
“He got the red card because he basically grabbed the guy with both arms,” said McArthur, adding that it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
“At that point Ponoka was buzzing. Camrose is the best team in the league,” added McArthur.
Overall, however, Evans was pleased with how the game started out.
“The first 20 minutes I think we were the best team,” said Evans.
The loss of Sluggett meant a change of strategy with Storm dropping to two attackers from three, plus Ponoka’s goalie Kyle Pallin had a busy game. Evans praised Pallin for his efforts, and the team for staying positive during a tough match.
“They learned today just to dig in and just keep battling,” said Evans.
As for league play, the U17 boys sit about middle of the pack and are about halfway through the season. Provincial qualifiers are set for June 22 to 24 in Ponoka.
***This story was corrected to add the name of the captain and clarify the score at the time of the penalty.***