KENNEWICK -- Angel Romero got to check off a healthy number of items off any goalkeeper's bucket list during Kennewick's 2-1 CBBN 3A district shootout victory over Kamiakin on Thursday at Lampson Stadium.
Play hurt: check.
Start, and win, a playoff game: check.
Make a big-time clutch save to keep your team in the game: check.
The Lions' senior keeper, who literally came out of the stands Saturday with a broken finger to replace injured starter Jared Gower, showed that Kennewick is in good hands with their backup goalie in net.
Romero is just happy to get the opportunity to show what he could do in leading the Lions into the second round of the 3A district playoffs. Kennewick (11-5) will play host to Mt. Spokane (7-7) -- the No. 2 seed out of the Greater Spokane League -- at Lampson Stadium at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"Oh yeah! This is my dream," Romero said with a smile, not to mention a heavily-taped broken right pinky finger which he injured a few weeks ago in practice.
Obviously, it hasn't stopped him or the Lions.
"It was a tremendous game. Kamiakin could have easily been the victor -- shootouts are basically 50-50," said first-year Kennewick coach Brian Gochoel. "You've got to think it's tough to try to fill Gower's shoes, but for (Romero) to step up like that was tremendous."
Romero made two saves in the shootout, including a dramatic kick-save on Cley Burns' sixth-round attempt that could have meant elimination for Kennewick.
Finally, in the seventh round, after a Braves' miss, Christian Martin stepped up to the spot for the Lions and buried a shot into the right corner for the win. Seconds later, the senior midfielder was buried under a pile of happy teammates.
"I'm not going to lie. We're doing better than I thought we would," said junior midfielder Geo Vasquez, who scored the Lions' only goal in regulation. "We knew this would be a hard game. Kamiakin always challenges us."
But Romero wasn't the only goalie to step up. Braves' senior Shad Harp stopped eight of Kennewick's 15 shots, including a sprawling save on a point-blank volley by Michael Martinez just before halftime to keep the game scoreless.
Harp was a shining example of a Kamiakin team that got better as the year went on. The Braves (6-10) won three of their last five games to clinch the No. 6 seed.
"I think a team gets defined by its downs, but if you can get past them, good things are going to happen," said Harp, who will continue his career at Columbia Basin College next season. "I'll miss these guys. There's definitely been a bond between the players."
Down 1-0 with the clock winding down, Kamiakin tied the score in the 76th minute on a left-footed drive from Cley Burns. The goal gave the Braves new life and hope that they could continue their season.
"We talked before the game about the fact that we split with Kennewick this year. We talked about all the tight games we've had," Kamiakin coach Jeff Bennett said. "In the second half I thought we were a little bit off, and then we scored. Then we were back in it. That's the team that had a chance to win."
Scoring--1, Ken, Geo Vasquez (PK), 52:00; 2, Kam, Cley Burns, 74:00. Shootout goals (Kennewick 5-4)--Kam, Kolten Brockman, Austin Davin, Colten Sullivan, Shad Harp; Ken, Miguel Garcia, David Covarrubias, Vasquez, Eduardo Guzman, Christian Martin. Shots--Kam 12, Ken 15. Saves--Kam, Harp 8. Ken, Angel Romero 4.