John Stephan

John Stephan boots the ball out of his own end. 

WEST BRANCH – The Oscoda soccer team took part in the Ogemaw Heights Invitational on Saturday, where it managed a second place finish after a solid day of soccer. 

The Owls had their first match against host Ogemaw Heights, a game they won 2-1 in a shootout. The Falcons scored in the 10th minute, with Oscoda not finding the back of the net until three minutes left to play in the contest. Michael Wrona scored the game-tying goal on a well-placed pass by John Stephan. 

In the shootout, each team netted their first three attempts thanks to boots by Lewis Axline, Wrona and Caleb Watson. Ben Berenkowski socked in the Owls fourth shootout attempt, allowing the Owls to escape with the win.

Brendan Apsitis made three saves in goal while Ethan Chase and Kameron Thomas had one non-keeper save each. 

Oscoda followed that with another shootout win, this time 3-2 over Flint Kearsley. 

Wrona netted the lone Oscoda goal in the first half as it was 1-1 at the break, with Wrona also netting the second half goal as the teams played to a 2-2 deadlock at the end of regulation. 

Kearsley scored on their first two shootout attempts but missed on their final three, allowing the Owls, who got shootout goals by Colin Ellis, Wrona and Watson to escape with another hard-fought win. 

Apsitis made seven saves. 

Oscoda followed this with a 1-0 loss to John Glenn. The game was scoreless until late in the game, when the Bobcats were able to sneak in a game-winning goal. 

Apsitis had six saves in goal with Berenkowski, Backstrom and Shane Nowiski making non-keeper saves. 

Oscoda finished the day with a relatively easy win over Standish-Sterling, 2-0. The game was scoreless at the break but the Owls kicked in second half goals by Backstrom, on an assist by Watson and Watson, who scored on a penalty kick. 

Apsitis had one save in goal to get the shutout. 

On Wednesday, the Owls opened North Star League play at Whittemore-Prescott, picking up a lopsided 8-0 mercy victory. 

Oscoda had seven different players score on the night, starting off with Itsu Mantani with the first goal of the game. Backstrom had two goals in the first half and Andrew Benton and Cameron Fulton had one goal each in the half as the took a commanding 5-0 lead at the intermission. 

It took just eight minutes into the second half to enforce the mercy, as Axline, James London and Apsitis had goals to end the night early. 

Stephan had two assists, with London, Apsitis, Ethan Chase and Wrona getting one assist each. 

Dylan Judd was in goal, making one save. 

Oscoda (6-2 overall, 1-0 NSL) hosted Fairview on Monday, hosts Alcona today (Wednesday) in a key North Star League game, hosts its own invitational on Saturday and heads to play rival Tawas Area on Tuesday.