EVERETT — It wasn’t head coach Geoff Kittle who fired Marysville-Pilchuck up in the second half.
It was the situation, the opponent and an old-fashioned desire to win.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Tomahawks rallied for a physical and emotional 2-1 victory against Cascade Friday at Everett Memorial Stadium. The win puts Marysville-Pilchuck in first place in the Wesco North, while placing Cascade firmly into third.
With so much on the line, there were a lot of elbows and yellow cards — including one administered during a celebration — delivered during a rough game. In the end, it came down to Cascade getting too rough, as the Bruins were called for a penalty inside the box, setting up a penalty kick for Marysville-Pilchuck’s Nickolas Burdett.
Burdett rifled the shot into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead. With less than six minutes to play, that sealed the deal.
“Both teams are physical teams and it was a pretty fiery game. Cascade fights really hard,” Kittle said. “But I’m proud of our guys to mentally get through it. They really wanted to win.”
The Bruins struck first on a goal by Jeff Gosslee, who got behind the defense and beat Marysville-Pilchuck keeper Erik Cruz to a ball that he then dribbled into the net. That came in the 35th minute and Cascade owned a 1-0 lead at the break.
The Tomahawks didn’t waste much time setting the tone in the second half, attacking Cascade keeper Michael Janner relentlessly. Janner responded by making four fantastic saves in the first 10 minutes of the half, but Marysville-Pilchuck finally broke through off a set play from a corner kick, as Seth Jones knocked through a goal in the 52nd minute to tie it up.
During his scoring celebration, Jones was tagged with a yellow card and forced to sit. The Tomahawks, though, kept on chugging. Jeffrey Jensen missed a side shot by a matter of inches in the 60th minute, before a late charge resulted in Burdett’s goal.
“They had a lot of emotion and we just needed to counter that,” Burdett said. “We needed to go hard the first 10 minutes (of the second half), put the pressure on them and hopefully that emotion they were riding would drop on them.
“When two teams this good come together, it’s kind of 50-50. But we prepared all week, we were focused and we’re the definition of a team. And good teams find a way to win.”
Cascade defeated the Tomahawks, 2-1, in an overtime decision in Marysville earlier in the season. In that cold and rainy loss, Marysville-Pilchuck felt like it let one slip away.
Trailing again, the Tomahawks decided to switch offensive technique a little bit. And, of course, increase the intensity.
“We played their game back at them in the second half,” Kittle said. “We’re a possession-type team, but we changed our tactics and sent the long balls at their backs. They come so intense and so hard at us, that we had to send our speed at them. The guys were really ready to play in the second half.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
Goals – Marysville-Pilchuck: Jones, Burdett. Cascade: Gosslee. Goalkeepers – Marysville-Pilchuck: Cruz. Cascade: Janner. Team records: Marysville-Pilchuck 12-2 league, 12-2 overall. Cascade 11-4, 11-4.