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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

September 17, 2012, Vancouver, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s field hockey team dropped their opening game of the Vancouver men’s premier league to Burnaby by a score of 4-1 on Sept. 15 at Eric Hamber fields in Vancouver.

Second-year Ryan Litnosky (North Vancouver, B.C.) scored his first goal and would be the lone Vike to get on the board.

Under the leadership and guidance of former Canadian national team member and now men’s field hockey head coach Michael Lee, the Vikes men started the game strong with solid possession and displaying good team chemistry. In the third minute of play, the Vikes found Tyler Klenk (Regina, Sask.) on the left side of the field, who turned and smashed the ball across the face of the goal. With good positioning and timing, Litnosky tipped the ball in to give the Vikes the early lead.

In the 15th minute, Burnaby tied the game 1-1 after a loose ball became free inside the Vikes’ defensive circle. Making no mistake, Burnaby put the ball away to leave the game tied at one entering the break.

Midfielder Gavin Titley (Vancouver, BC) played a strong role in neutralizing the experienced Burnaby midfielders, while David Bell (Victoria, BC) and Nathan O’Riain (Calgary, Alta.) were called upon to command the backfield.

The Vikes came out slow in the second half, allowing Burnaby to capitalize on two back-to-back penalty corner options in the 42nd and 45th minutes. Vikes keeer Davis Robertson (Vancouver, B.C.) made an impressive save and follow-up save on a rebound off another penalty corner to keep the Vikes within two.

The Vikes turned the game around by maintaining good posession and applying pressure up front. The Vikes had their best opportunity when Derek Wiggins (Vancouver, BC) connected well on a low reverse stick shot that was incredibly saved by the Burnaby keeper.

Against the flow, the Vikes turned over the ball in the 60th minute, allowing Burnaby’s quick counter-attack to capitalize and take home the 4-1 victory.

Vikes rookies Graeme Carswell, Parm Atwal, Connor Martin and Jack Hyslop all had successful debuts in Vikes jerseys.

The Vikes men were without Canadian Junior national team standouts Samuel Jones (Vancouver, BC), James Kirkpatrick (Victoria, BC) and Matthew Sarmento (Vancouver, BC) who are currently in Guadalajara, Mexico competing in the Junior Pan American Games with an eye on qualifying for the 2013 Junior World Cup. The Canadian boys are currently 3-0 in their pool play games, putting them at the top of group B before the qualifying rounds.