With Photos From Joel Belizario (ISN Edmonton)
November 4, 2012, EDMONTON – Canada West MVP Gagan Dosanjh proved his quality at the most opportune time, scoring the game winning goal in the 101st minute to help his UBC Thunderbirds to a 2-1 extra time Canada West championship win over the University of Alberta Golden Bears, Sunday afternoon at Foote Field in Edmonton.
Dosanjh, a third-year striker from Abbotsford, B.C., capitalized on loose ball in the Alberta 18-yard box and beat Canada West First Team All-Star goalie Jay Vetsch in the first extra time half on Sunday. The shifty striker, who led Canada West in goals, assists and points, was a threat every time he touched ball on Sunday. He finally broke through Alberta’s tenacious defence in extra time to help UBC clinch their 14th Canada West title, and first since 2010.
Thunderbirds midfielder Milad Mehrabi celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 1st goal of the Canada West men’s soccer final held at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on November 4th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
“You could see it in his game today, he was getting better as the game wore on, and I think there was a real confidence level on our side that he was going to get a goal today,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher of his star player. “Credit Alberta, they played him really tight and physical, they blocked a lot of his shots, and Gagan was getting frustrated, so we told him to get back at them the only way he could. He’s the smallest guy on the field, but he went toe-to-toe with Alberta’s big back-line and in the end, he was rewarded.”
Thunderbirds midfielder Greg Smith and Golden Bears defender Niko Saler battle during the Canada West men’s soccer final held at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on November 4th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
UBC had gone up 1-0 just 13 minutes into the game when midfielder Milad Mehrabi collected a feed from Reynold Stewart and beat Vetsch.
The rest of first half remained scoreless, but it was a raucous and physical affair, including hard tackles, bloody noses, and a home town crowd that gave the Point Grey squad plenty of jeers from the Foote Field stands.
Two minutes into the second half and that crowd roared to life when third-year Golden Bears’ striker Jermele Campbell scored to tie the match. Zenon Markevych sprung Campbell free with a great ball inside the UBC 18-yard box and the striker made no mistake, shooting cross crease to the bottom right corner for the 1-1 goal.
Thunderbirds defender Paul Clerc is hurt by an aerial clash with Golden Bears forward Jonah Feil during the Canada West men’s soccer final held at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on November 4th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
The game’s physicality and tension remained throughout the second half, Vetsch in particular had to make a number of game saving stops, but it ratcheted up even further when Alberta brought leading scorer and conference first team all-star Marcus Johnstone, and second team all-star midfielder Cam Schmidt into the contest in the 70th minute.
The move almost paid off as the increase in Alberta’s offensive pressure led to a chance by Markevych just before the 90 minutes expired. After some sustained pressure in the UBC zone, a blocked Alberta shot led to the ball rolling nicely to Markevych at the 20-yard line where he put a thunderous shot on net, only to be stopped by T-Birds’ goalie Luke O’Shea.
Dosanjh, who was relentless on the attack all game, finally got his goal when took advantage of a defensive miscue in the Alberta 18-yard box and beat Vetsch for the game winner just before the first extra time half expired. Although Alberta pushed to level the score in the second extra time half, UBC would hang on to win the game.
Golden Bears forward Jonah Fiel plays the ball upfield as Thunderbirds defender William Hyde gives chase during the Canada West men’s soccer final held at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on November 4th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
“It’s always disappointing when you lose, because you want to win every game, but for us the big focus was getting to the national championship in the best possible condition,” said 28-year Alberta head coach Len Vickery. “We’re pretty banged up right now, plus we had a tough match yesterday in order to get here, so we did some things to ensure we would have the best possible line-up next week in Laval, and at the same time, we got to put some people in the line-up to gain valuable experience which is beneficial, because they are the future of Golden Bears soccer. We’ll go into the national championship as a lower seed, but history has shown that in a one-and-done playoff game, higher seeds are often upset, and we feel very strongly about our ability to compete with anyone at that tournament next week.”
“In the end,” said Mosher, “I think our side was a little bit more determined to win that championship today. We have high expectations every time we step on the field. We want to win every game, and we want championships. Full credit to Alberta today, they were really banged up, had a tough 120 minute game yesterday, so I don’t think we saw their best, but they battled hard to win, and in the end, we were more determined to win, and we did.”
The CIS national championship tournament runs Nov 8-11, 2012 at Universite de Laval in Quebec.