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Chill edged by first-place Legends

St. Croix scored twice in the first 20 minutes of the second half to earn a 2-1 win Friday night at Chapples Field.

HUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Chill played well in spurts.

Unfortunately for the USL2 club, the spurts didn’t last long enough.

The St. Croix Legends, leaders of the Deep North Division heading into Friday’s Chapples Field match, scored twice in the second half to edge the Chill 2-1 and take a stranglehold on first place, holding off their shorthanded opponent late in the contest, a team desperately trying to find any way possible to put the ball in the net.

The Chill had plenty of chances in the final 10 minutes of play, but the Legends defenders were always in the right place at the right time, disrupting every Thunder Bay shot attempt, ensuring the ball stayed out of harm’s way.

Thunder Bay striker Tyler Attardo said he and his teammates didn’t play with enough effort in the early going of both halves, and while they got away with it in the first 45 minutes, it cost them in the second.

“We talked about it at halftime and we figured it out,” Attardo said. “The coaches tell us what to do, but it’s on the players at that point. We have to look at ourselves after this game and ask ourselves, why weren’t we fresh?

“Because we’re fresh. We have to come out in the first 20 minutes and the same thing in the second half. We have to be able to control that.”

Missing a handful of chances down the stretch was frustrating, but the team shouldn’t have been in that spot in the first place, Attardo said, blaming himself a little for the lack of offence.

“That’s my job. When you’re having those chances and you can’t finish, it’s very frustrating, but it’s something that we have to overcome. It’s frustrating, but those chances were coming way too late in the game,” Attardo said.

“We needed more of those to start with, and maybe if we had those in the first half and missed those, maybe the ones in the second half we’d have been a lot sharper.”

The Legends just looked a little quicker to the ball for most of the night, and came out guns a blazing to start the second half, putting pressure on the Chill right away.

It paid off in the 60th, when the Chill’s Kaim Bachir Bey committed a foul in the box.

St. Croix’s Luca Contestabile was awarded a penalty kick, fired to Joshua Moya’s left, and though the Thunder Bay keeper guessed right, couldn’t catch up to the line-drive shot and the game was tied at a goal apiece.

The Chill’s goal came during injury time late in the first half, when Loris Tsiatsipy lifted a light shot high on St. Croix’s Nolan Meyer, out of the reach of the Legends keeper, who was solid all night long.

Four minutes after tying the game, St. Croix took the led lead for good.

Strikers Shea Bechitel and Nathan Donovan split the Thunder Bay defence and Bechitel slid the ball to his teammate, who got just enough of a foot on the ball to roll it home.

“It was a very unselfish play of (Bechitel),” Donovan said. “He slid it across and when I’m that close to the goal, it doesn’t take a Jamie Vardy power finish. It just take a little tap around (the keeper). Yeah, nice and easy.”

It’s a big win, he added.

“This is a huge, must-win game for us,” Donovan said.

In the 79th Diego Reveco had a chance in the box, but his header attempt bounced into the ground and over the net. Attardo headed another ball over the net in the 81st.

The Chill played the final two minutes and injury time down a man after Will Hughes was assessed his second yellow card of the game.

The Chill (2-2-0) and Legends (5-1-1) meet again on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Chapples Field.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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