MISSOULA — A last-minute goal and save were the storylines in a pair of draws as Missoula played host to a crosstown soccer doubleheader between the Sentinel High and Hellgate High boys and girls on Thursday.
The boys finished with a 2-2 draw while the girls result ended up 0-0.
In what turned out to be a wild game, the boys started the evening with a scoreless first half despite multiple opportunities found by both teams.
But in the 42nd minute, Sentinel struck first after a cross from Wyatt Keyes found the head of Aaron Stanicar who sent it to the back of the net to make it 1-0.
However, Sentinel dealt with some adversity from there. After a player was given a red card in the 50th minute, the Spartans also committed an own goal in the 60th minute to tie the game. Hellgate's Marcus Anderson then slipped past the defense after a pass from Felix Hahn and made a pair of defenders miss en route to giving the Knights a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute.
But in the 79th minute the Knights committed a penalty on their own side of the field, and Keyes was called in again. His delivery on the penalty kick was tipped by the goalkeeper, then bounced off the pole, and fell into the waiting foot of Sentinel's Hunter Chatriand who scored to make it 2-2.
Chatriand and the Spartans were jubilant in celebration, and though the result was a draw, Sentinel (5-1-1) saw plenty of growth from its previous 5-2 loss to Hellgate earlier this season. For Hellgate (9-0-1) it was the first non-win of the season for the reigning Class AA champion.
"It was the last chance we had," Chatriand said. "We told everyone to get in and crash the box once they played it. I crashed the box, the keeper missed it and it bounced off the post and fell right into my foot.
"We were just looking for any chances to get the ball in the net."
The girls game was similar to the boys in that plenty of opportunities were had but none fruitful in the opening half.
In the waning minutes of the girls game, a foul in the box resulted in a penalty kick for Sentinel (4-0-3). However, Hellgate keeper Sophia Pierce timed Faith Marshall's kick perfectly, and, diving to her left, Pierce halted the Spartans' best chance at a goal all evening to maintain the 0-0 draw.
The draw helped Hellgate (4-3-3) feel a sense of bounce-back after falling to Missoula Big Sky 3-1 on Tuesday. For Pierce, it was her second penalty kick save in a week after doing so last Saturday against Kalispell Flathead.
"I was definitely very nervous, but I was just hoping for the best I guess," Pierce said. "I kind of watch their body language and how they get set up to approach the ball and it gives me a pretty good idea of which way they're planning on kicking it. That helps a bit."
For full game highlights and reactions from Thursday's contests, check out the video above.