Parkersburg's Evan Rhodes (left) and Hurricane's Daniel McKnight (4) battle for possession.
HURRICANE - What a tune-up for next week's postseason tournaments.Junior Evan Rhodes scored a goal for Parkersburg while senior Felipe Thompson answered less than a minute later for host Hurricane in the opening half and the top two teams in the state coaches association rankings stayed that way for a 1-1 draw Thursday night. A crowd of about 150 attended the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown.Rhodes netted an unassisted goal with 27:14 left in the first half to stake the No. 2 Big Reds to a 1-0 lead. Rhodes gained control of a loose ball and uncorked a shot from about 25 yards away that was just inside the left post.Thompson, an exchange student from Chile who is the leading goal scorer in the Kanawha Valley with 38, knotted the game at 1-all 41 seconds later on an assist from senior Trevor Cunningham for the No. 1 Redskins. Cunningham gathered the ricochet from Daniel McKnight's shot and passed to Thompson in front of the net for the equalizer.Hurricane (18-0-1) had plenty of chances to pull away but was off the mark on five shots on goal in the second half. Parkersburg (13-3-4) was off target on its only two chances.Redskins senior Rodrigo Bevaqua, an exchange student from Brazil, sent a shot over the goal from inside the penalty box with less than two minutes to go.Big Reds senior defender Tyler Broadwater was given a yellow card with nine seconds remaining, giving Hurricane one more shot on a direct kick from about 40 yards out. Hurricane senior Matheus Morgan, an exchange student from Brazil, placed the shot on goal and Parkersburg junior keeper Reid Strobl made a leaping two-handed save as time expired."We looked at this as a great preparation for next week,'' said Hurricane coach Jim Dagostine. "I think it was. I'm not disappointed in the way we played. We had some chances and didn't finish. I'm very proud of my guys. They've had a wonderful season. This team deserves to move on, but it doesn't mean it's going to happen.''
"Our team doesn't have a star,'' said Parkersburg coach Don Fosselman, whose team scored two goals in the last four minutes to forge a 3-3 tie Tuesday with AA-A No. 1 and undefeated Charleston Catholic. "We don't have a Felipe or a [Bevaqua]. We just have kids that grind it out and play hard and go the extra mile and never quit. They've really come together. We're battle hardened.''Hurricane junior keeper Tim Hayslett turned in four stops while Strobl finished with seven for Parkersburg.It's the third time in the last four years that Hurricane has finished the regular season with an unbeaten record. The Redskins were 20-0 in 2009 and saw its undefeated and scoreless streak stopped in the sectional finals with a 2-1 loss to Huntington. Hurricane finished 13-0-7 in 2010 and fell 2-1 to Wheeling Park on penalty kicks in the state tournament semifinals. Redskins seniors Evan and Ian Miles, who were freshmen on the '09 squad, have seen this movie before and are looking to write a different ending."We got a good game and we always need good games to get better,'' said Ian Miles. "From now on all games are going to be like that, tough and grind it out.''"This year is our team,'' added Evan Miles. "We'd just like to play hard and get to the championship. We need to come together better as a team. It's been like that all year. We get a lot of shots, but few of them hit on goal. We just have to continue to work.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.