After taking a one-year leave of absence last fall from the OCAA schedule due to the strike of the support staff, the Golden Shield returned to league play on the weekend with a pair of challenging foes in town for a four-game set.
The Cambrian men picked up a pair of 1-1 draws. They opened with a tie against the perennial powerhouse Algonquin Thunder. Sault Ste. Marie native Nathan Briglio counted the only Cambrian goal. The Shield continues to cause problems for an Algonquin side that captured six straight provincial championships from 2004 to 2010.
In September of 2009, Cambrian managed the upset, silencing the Thunder 1-0 before surrendering a pair of late goals one year later in a 2-1 loss. This year, the teams sawed off in the middle.
“The boys showed a lot of character in coming back to tie the game and hold on to secure the point,” head coach Giuseppe Politi said. "In terms of the final result, a tie is a great start this season, especially against a perennial favourite such as Algonquin."
Come Sunday, it was St. Charles graduate Marco Armiento netting the Cambrian goal as Politi and company duplicated their previous result with a 1-1 draw with the La Cité Patriotes.
"With a bit more attention to detail in front of goal, we could have won this game," Politi said. "We missed too many quality chances and should have secured three points. But we are proving to be a tough team to beat and I'm proud of how the guys battled in back-to-back days."
Following their weekend performance, the Cambrian men's team was named the OCAA Men's Team of the Week.
For their part, the Golden Shield ladies fell just short in back-to-back games, but demonstrated an encouraging competitiveness all things considered, most notably in a 2-0 loss to Algonquin.
“I thought the girls played well in terms of following the system against a very tough opponent,” Politi said. “We are returning after last year's absence and we were playing last year's OCAA silver medallist.”
Cambrian dropped a 2-1 decision to La Cité on Sunday as Mary-Ellen Schroeder broke the ice, offensively, for the locals’ 2012 campaign.
"Today's loss stings a bit more compared to the Algonquin game because I thought we could have gotten a draw," Politi said.
In the shortened season of the OCAA circuit, there is precious little time to have the losses pile up before playoff aspirations are extinguished for good.
"The girls know they need to rest a day and return with an urgent mindset solely focusing on next Saturday's game," Politi said.
Both Cambrian crews are back in action on the road next weekend, battling St. Lawrence College in Kingston on Saturday and taking on Seneca on Sunday.