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Panther boys find all the answers against Braves

PHS senior Alex Bjornestad (left) and sophomore Trey Ouellette fight off a Star Valley Brave during a physical 4-3 overtime win Saturday afternoon at Panther Stadium. PHS senior Alex Bjornestad (left) and sophomore Trey Ouellette fight off a Star Valley Brave during a physical 4-3 overtime win Saturday afternoon at Panther Stadium. Tribune photo by Greg Wise

Another hat trick for Senior Tyler Ouellette  

The Powell High School boys’ soccer team led Star Valley for just three minutes, but it was the only three minutes that mattered.

Senior Tyler Ouellette scored on a penalty kick in the second overtime period and the Panthers beat the Braves 4-3 Saturday afternoon at Panther Stadium to start the season 2-0.

Ouellette’s second hat trick in as many games and a goal by freshman Brekyn Herd led the way during a grueling and windy game Saturday afternoon at Panther Stadium.

PHS head coach Travis Rapp said “it was a physical game” with “a lot of hits going both ways”

The hard-fought win came a week after a 7-0 trouncing of Pinedale, and Rapp is pleased his team has already proven it can win both types of games. The coach said his players were talking after the game about how the team had made improvements over last year’s squad.

“That’s a game we probably lost last year because we didn’t have the confidence in ourselves that the boys have this year,” Rapp said.

The Panthers have scored 11 goals in two games, equalling half of their total goals scored all of last season.

“We’re doing a better job of getting balls on the frame,” Rapp said.

But the coach isn’t satisfied and knows his offense is capable of more.

“We still left some off the board that we could have had,” he said.

Star Valley opened the scoring in the game’s fifth minute, but Ouellette knotted things up just five minutes later on a goal assisted by senior Heston Swenson.

The 1-1 score would last through halftime, and Rapp said he felt fortunate his team was still in a position to win following what was a less-than-stellar half by the Panthers.

“We weren’t too upset,” Rapp said. “We were happy where were were, we knew we had the offensive ability (to win in the second half).”

Star Valley threatened late in the first half but sophomore keeper Sean Wagner denied the Braves the lead.

“Sean made two fantastic saves on the same play,” Rapp said.

The Panthers had the wind at their backs in the second half, but they weren’t able to put any distance between themselves and the Braves.

Star Valley took a 2-1 lead in the 56th minute, but Ouellette was quick to score the unassisted equalizer in the 58th.

The game went into overtime with the score tied 2-2.

The goal-scoring pattern continued when the Braves struck seven minutes into the first OT period, and Herd scored two minutes later to tie the game yet again before the clock read all zeroes. Senior Blake Schwan assisted on Herd’s goal.

The Braves didn’t provoke Ouellette’s penalty kick winner with a goal of their own, and in the 97th minute of the extended game the Panthers took their first lead of the match.

Rapp was proud of the Panthers for continuing to fight against a Braves team looking to impose its physicality.

“The finesse games are a little bit easier,” Rapp said. “100 minutes of a physical game, coming out on top was definitely big for us.

“The boys did well controlling their emotions and keeping their focus on the goal at hand.”

Rapp applauded center-midfielders Swenson, Emilio Raya Jr. and sophomore Trey Ouellette for staying level-headed and controlling the tempo for the Panthers.

Powell pulled out the victory despite a second-half injury to center-back Noah Katz, who was noticeably limping during the game’s final 30 minutes.

“Noah Katz definitely played a heck of a game,” Rapp said. “He did a really good job cleaning stuff up in front of him.”

Rapp said Katz’s status for this week’s games is unknown. Katz knocked ankles with another player during the match but was able to finish the game and play effective defense for the Panthers.

“Usually that means it’s nothing major unless something got fractured in there,” Rapp said.

The team should know Katz’s availability by Wednesday.

The Panthers would certainly miss their top defenseman if he is unable to go in two crucial Northwest Quadrant games Thursday and Friday.

The boys open Northwest play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Cody. Powell then hits the road Friday for the first time this season when the team travels to Worland for another 6 p.m. start.

Rapp said his team is looking forward to playing Cody and wants to be 4-0 overall and “be 2-0 against our quadrant at the end of this weekend.

“It’s always nice to have a win streak, no matter how long it is,” Rapp said.

 

PHS boys' soccer schedule
MARCH
  22   Pinedale   7-0 W
  29   Star Valley   4-3 OT
APRIL
  3   Cody   6 p.m.
  4   Worland   6 p.m.
  11   Green River Invite   TBA
  12   Green River Invite   TBA
  22   Cody   6 p.m.
  25   Buffalo   5 p.m.
  26   Jackson   1 p.m.
  29   Worland   6 p.m.
MAY
  2   Lander   6 p.m.
  3   Pinedale   1 p.m.
  9   Star Valley   6 p.m.
  10   Jackson   1 p.m.
  22-24   STATE   TBA
  Overall Record: 2-0; Conference: 0-0

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