Canton continued its recent trend of increased offensive production, but a surprisingly resilient Howell defense and goalkeeper made a dominating performance by Canton look a lot closer than it was.
The Chiefs scored early when Senior Christopher Kight found the net in the 7th minute, assisted by senior co-captain Max Scheffler. The Highlanders had a great counter a few minutes later, catching the defense on their toes which resulted in a breakaway opportunity. But junior goalkeeper Ryan Hondorp came out on a great challenge, going to ground with his best spider-monkey impression and a stellar save to deny the Highlanders. Canton continued dominating the Highlanders throughout the first half but did not find the net again, going into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
The second half was much of the same, with the Chiefs controlling play but really solid keeper play by the Highlanders goalie. In the 75th minute a flurry of activity resulted in three shots on goal inside of about 3 seconds, with the chaos resulting in an insurance goal by Christian Austin, assisted by Kaelan Flowers.
This 2-0 “pad” goal would prove to be crucial as the Highlanders a few minutes later caught the Chiefs defense flat-footed on a quick restart–a booming cross-post shot by the Highlanders could not be stopped, and Hondorp was denied a clean sheet in the 78th minute of play. The Chiefs maintained possession for the next two minutes, and the match ended with a bar-down shot into the net as the horn was buzzing; the crowd thought that Max Scheffler’s shot would count for a 3-1 victory, but the referee ruled it as having NOT beaten the buzzer. The match would end with a 2-1 Chiefs victory.
Despite the seemingly-close 2-1 scoring margin, the Chiefs outshot the Highlanders a staggering 35-7, with 20 shots on goal vs the Highlanders 5 shots on goal.
Key contribors were Austin (6S, 4 SOG, 1 G), Scheffler (4 S, 2 SOG, 1 assist), Kight with an efficient one shot on goal for a goal, and Kaelan Flowers (2S, 2SOG, 1 assist). Ryan Hondorp finished the match with 4 saves and 1 goal allowed. (Story by Brad Heers)