Ponoka Storm men’s league champions

Storm now have set their sights on the Cup

The Battle River league champions: Back row: (l-r) Coach Rich Evans

The Battle River league champions: Back row: (l-r) Coach Rich Evans

Ponoka Storm F.C. won the Battle River Men’s Soccer League championship with an impressive 4-0 win on the road over Leduc F.C. in their final regular season game on Monday, Aug. 4, becoming the first team to break the championship streak of Manluk in recent history.

Ponoka dominated for long periods of the game creating numerous scoring opportunities throughout.

Nathan Huzar broke the deadlock with the first of his two goals after 25 minutes with a well-placed shot from just inside the 18- yard box. A goal apiece for Bryce Sharpe and Eric Ehscheid in the second half ensured the win Ponoka required to become League champions.

Ponoka F.C finished at the top of the table with a notable record of 12 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie earning 37 points. This record complements the impressive goal differential of +30 with 49 goals scored, and four “clean sheets” (no goals for opposition) for keeper Wouter Opsteen.

“I’ve been involved with this team since its inception five years ago and I cannot even tell you how full my heart was Monday night and how thrilled I was for our team,” said Michelle Blanchett commenting on Storm’s last regular league game against Leduc.

This marks the first time in recent history that a team other than Wetaskiwin-based Manluk F.C. has won the league championship.

Ponoka Storm finished the season with 37 points, one point ahead of Manluk’s 36.

The season is not over for Storm F.C. though, as the Battle River Men’s Soccer League Cup competition has now begun.

Ponoka had a bye through round one of playoffs by virtue of their first place finish.

In the first round of the elimination games played August 10, Millet took on Leduc and Camrose faced Diablos.  Camrose defeated Diablos, so Ponoka will play the semi-final match against Camrose on Sunday, August 17 at the high school field.

Leduc, having defeated Millet, will play against Manluk in the other semi-final on the same day.

The Cup Final match will be played on Sunday, August 24 in Wetaskiwin.

Arrangements for the presentation of the Battle River League championship trophy to Ponoka Storm have yet to be finalized and there is a possibility that the presentation may take place on Sunday in Ponoka after the cup semi-final.