By Paul Cartledge, With Photos From Joel Belizario (ISN Edmonton)
October 14, 2012, Edmonton – A late header by fourth-year striker Jonah Feil earned the No.4 ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears a 2-2 tie with the No.2 ranked and still undefeated University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, Saturday afternoon at Foote Field in Edmonton.
Zenon Markevych, a fourth-year midfielder, also scored for the now 6-1-3 Bears, while team scoring leader Marcus Johnstone added an assist to put his season point total to 12.
The 8-0-1 T-birds got tallies from fourth-year midfielders Greg Smith and Reynold Stewart, the tie keeping UBC slightly ahead of second-place Trinity Western in the Pacific division standings, the Spartans now only two points behind after their 1-0 win this afternoon against Saskatchewan.
That loss by the Huskies also gives the Bears a four-point lead on Saskatchewan in the race for the Prairie division title, a race that also involves Albertan squads, the Calgary Dinos and Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Golden bears striker Marcus Johnstone wins an aerial battle with Thunderbirds defender Paul Clerc at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 13th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
Edmonton native Markevych opened the scoring in the seventh minute, mere moments after Canada West leading scorer Gagandeep Dosanjh missed just left of the Alberta net. On the quick turnaround up the field, Johnstone put a shot towards the UBC goal, with T-bird defenders caught focusing on its trajectory, but unable to account for Markevych’s tip that put them out of position, allowing the ball to roll over the line for the 1-0 lead.
Thunderbirds defender William Hyde tugs on Golden Bears striker Marcus Johnstone’s jersey at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 13th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
Smith replied in the 25th minute, however, his close-range header being stopped by Bears netminder Jay Vetsch, but the rebound went back to the North Vancouver-born athlete who roofed his second attempt to knot the game at one.
UBC would continue to control ball possession for the rest of the half and the start of second half, despite Alberta holding a 6-3 shot advantage during that time, leading to a surprisingly stealthy strike by Stewart in the 63rd minute, getting sent in alone on a breakaway by senior midfielder Brandon Bonifacio and powering the ball to the bottom left for the one-goal lead.
Golden Bears midfielder Zenon Markevych keeps the ball in play while being marked by Thunderbirds defender Tyler Mertens at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 13th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
The Thunderbird defence, which ties for first in the conference alongside Alberta in fewest goals against, then went into “shut down” mode, stifling any opportunities by the Bears to even the score.
Alberta head coach Len Vickery countered by substituting in Feil, hailing from Victoria, BC, and within only two minutes, the striker made a perfect redirect of a Niko Saler cross in the 81st minute, heading the ball to the top left of the T-bird net to square the teams at two goals apiece.
Golden Bears defender Eddy Sidra battles with Thunderbirds midfielder Brandon Bonifacio at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 13th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
The Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies will now swap opponents on Sunday, UBC heading east to Saskatoon while the Trinity Western Spartans head to Edmonton, game time at 2 PM MT at Foote Field.