It came very close to falling apart for the Carleton Ravens but by the time the clock struck 120 minutes, it was black and red faithful storming the pitch at the Ravens Perch and Carleton advancing to their first national title game in 19 seasons following a 3-2 victory over the Cape Breton Capers.
The Ravens probably could not have entered the night on a bigger high after defeating the UBC Thunderbirds in penalty kicks but coming back from 2-0 in their quarterfinal matchup on Thursday. The Capers probably had more mixed feelings, they won 3-2 off a 117th minute Kairo Coore goal but allowed a pair in the final 16 minutes.
As night fell over Ottawa, the evening began with extended play in the Ravens end as the Cape Breton Capers clearly wanted to prove that Thursday night’s collapse vs Laval was an anomoly.
Despite the extending run of play it was Carleton that struck first in the 32nd minute as Gabriel Bitar found some space above the box and buried it to give the Ravens the 1-0 lead.
A 45th minute penalty from Dario Conte after Caper’s All-Canadian defender Euan Bauld was whistled in the box for a handball meant that Carleton entered halftime with what has seemingly become the worst lead to have in this tournament, 2-0.
In the second half it was like the party had begun at the Ravens Perch. The Capers struggled to get anything going until the 88th minute when a deep kick from 30 yards away landed right in the box but bounced around and past Kyle Potter to give Cape Breton a chance at 2-1.
Even then it looked like the Capers would run out of time until:
Stunned. The hundreds of Ravens faithful had to sit in silence as the Capers exploded in celebration. Despite the goal though, with the game, as was basically the rules for this side of the bracket the entire tournament going to extra time.
In extra-time it was Carleton captain Ricky Comba who fittingly got the chance to play hero for his team and send the Carleton fans into hysterics.
The Capers would try to fight back but simply run out of time, and with a blow of the whistle, just the same as Thursday night the black and red faithful stormed the pitch at The Perch and the Ravens booked a spot in their first National Final since 2002.
The Cape Breton Capers follow-up their loss with a match against the Guelph Gryphons in the Bronze Medal game on Sunday. The Capers look to take a second straight bronze after defeating the Ravens at CEPSUM in Montreal in 2019, while Guelph is aiming for their first bronze since 2016.
As for the Carleton Ravens, they toed the line of seeing their national title dream evaporate on their home pitch in devastating fashion.
Now though, just one game remains, one final tightrope to balance for the team at the corner of Bronson. Ave and University Dr to reach immortality.
COVER: Valerie Wutti/ U SPORTS