“These are always physical games, and we knew they were going to give us their best shot,” Strainer said. “It’s tough to lose this kind of game.”
Technically, the Buccaneers didn’t lose, but Strainer’s sentiments were shared by his teammates. In a game they could have — and maybe should have — won, a tie was almost as tough to swallow as a loss.
Grand Haven dominated play for a majority of the contest on a cool, blustery night at Buccaneer Stadium.
The Bucs got on the scoreboard first when Nick Scarpino’s free kick sailed past Panthers’ goalie Zach Bonzelaar and into the net.
West Ottawa responded with just 3:40 remaining in the opening half on a bit of a fluke goal. Jose Moreno’s free kick took a wicked bounce over the head of a Buccaneers’ defender who was ready to clear the ball out of danger. Goalie Garrison Mast couldn’t recover in time to get to the ball as it bounced into the net.
In the second half, Grand Haven dominated, using a stiff breeze at its back to keep the ball buried in West Ottawa’s defensive third for a majority of the time.
Neither team could score, however, bringing about a pair of 10-minute overtime sessions. The Bucs again dominated those final 20 minutes, but couldn’t score the game-winner.
The tie was the fifth in eight games for the Bucs, who are now 2-1-5 on the season,
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.