Men’s Soccer (Canada West Conference play)
UBC Okanagan Heat (3-3-0) vs. UBC Thunderbirds (6-0-0)
|Goals by period||1||2||Tot|
|UBC Okanagan Heat||0||0||0|
KELOWNA, B.C. – The top team in Canada demonstrated once again why they are the best on Saturday night when the UBC Okanagan Heat hosted their compatriots in the UBC Thunderbirds and ultimately fell in a decisive 4-0 outcome.
The battle for control in the midfield was perhaps the toughest challenge for the Heat throughout the night, though midfielder Donald “Manny” Straith (4th year, Victoria, BC) would be named the home team’s Player of the Game for his relentless effort in the middle, particularly in the second half when the Heat halted the Thunderbird offensive to keep it a scoreless period.
Thunderbirds senior keeper Richard Meister started his third game of the season and third straight, keeping his season sheet clean once again en route to his team’s victory. The team has only two goals against them so far this season. Meister was relieved by Chris Beck at the half.
The visiting UBC team got on the board almost right out of the gate when Niall Cousens picked up his third of the season just three minutes into the match, Cousens was named by his manager as the Thunderbird man of the match. Jules Chopin would rack up goal number two with what Heat coach Dante Zanatta called a “world class shot” across to the top left corner.
Cousens would score again thirty minutes into the first while the conference’s points leader Navid Mashinchi wrapped up the fourth and final goal of the match five minutes later. Cousens now has four goals on the season, while Navid now has five, and is tied with Alberta’s Tolu Esan.
The Heat created a series of chances in the waning minutes of the second half, but perhaps their best shot at cracking Beck and the Thunderbirds defense was in the 70th minute when rookie Ryan Jerry (Summerland, BC) found an opening in the middle fifteen yards out, took a shot to the left side where Beck would get his hands on the ball but fumble control. However, Jerry could not clean things up as a defender would eventually clear the ball away.
Having taken care of business as most expected the two-time defending national champions would, the Thunderbirds now improve to 6-0 for the season, boasting a 19-2 goal ratio. They will take their bye next weekend before seeing the UBC Okanagan again October 4th in a rematch.
Meanwhile, the Heat move to 3-3-0 and will build upon what they have learned tonight in preparation for the final half of the season and the push for a Pacific Division playoff berth.
“After the game I said [that] tonight would be a big loss if we didn’t learn from it,” said Zanatta in reflection of his squad’s performance against the Thunderbirds. He added that it would in fact be the “true loss” to not use their experiences tonight as a positive building block moving forward.
UBC Okanagan hits the road for the next two weeks, visiting the Trinity Western Spartans Friday night at 7 p.m. and the Fraser Valley Cascades Saturday at 7:30p.m. for the final appearances against each other this season.