The Albany Rebels won all four of their matches on Saturday to reclaim the Montreal Tournament Junior Football Championship in Laval, Quebec. The Rebels defeated Montreal and Calgary in the group stage before beating Ottawa, for the first time in club history, in the semifinals and then cruising past Hartford in an All-American final.
This marks the second Montreal Tournament title for the Rebels in three years.
"What was most pleasing about the day was the work rate of our players," said Rebels forward Cillian Flavin.
The Rebels played great as a team throughout the day, getting back on defense, moving the ball all over the field and taking advantage of scoring opportunities. Full forward Chris Poggi was a threat every time he touched the ball, using his combination of size and speed to win the ball up top and then create space for shots. He led the Rebels in tournament scoring with six goals and two points.
"Chris Poggi had another amazing performance," Flavin said. "He is a prolific full forward who will amass an impressive points and goals total by the end of the season."
One of the most important goals came off the foot of forward Tim Gerrish against Calgary. The Rebels were down two points with less than a minute remaining, and a chance for the #1 seed in the group quickly vanishing. But Gerrish took the ball down the field on his own, being harassed the entire way, and scored a goal to give Albany a one-point victory.
That win did have a cost, however, as midfielder Mark Adam was injured earlier in the second half and missed the rest of the tournament.
Albany rallied, though, and went on to beat Ottawa in the semifinals, with rookie midfielder RC Helsing providing the dagger when he scored his first career goal late in the second half.
The Rebels won the final against Hartford in one of the most impressive matches in club history. Every player contributed on the way to victory, carrying out the game plan and pulling away in the second half for a decisive win.
Midfielder Tristan Boyer was superb all day, often matching up against the opponent’s most dangerous attacker. His quickness and relentless work rate limited their scoring chances and caused countless turnovers.
Veterans Cillian Flavin, Mike Lee, Ryan Moloney and Gerrish provided stability for the Rebels throughout the tournament.
"The best thing about winning the cup was that it was a complete team effort," Lee said. "Every man in the roster was needed and did their job at a top level. We had to beat some good teams today, and it required smart, disciplined team play, and we executed."