By James Nielsen, Highlanders Communications
June 1, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Highlanders faced the Vancouver Whitecaps in front of 2044 people Friday night, falling 5-3 to a Whitecaps team that converted on defensive breakdowns by the Highlanders in the defensive zone.
Jordie Hughes netted his third goal in two games, just eight minutes in, receiving a breakaway feed and blasting it past goalkeeper Marco Carducci. The Highlanders then added to their lead when seven minutes later Brett Levis manoeuvred around the Whitecaps goalkeeper and a defender before slipping it past Carducci to put the Highlanders up 2-0 just 15-minutes in. After the Highlanders goal, the last 20 minutes of first-half play seemed to favour the Whitecaps, save for a one-time shot by Jordie Hughes that just missed wide and left.
In the 25th minute Whitecaps defender Derek Bassi fired a shot that found the upper left corner, cutting the lead to 2-1. Less than two minutes later, Harpreet Lakhan was denied on a penalty shot by goaltender Elliot Mitrou, who dove left to stop the shot. Lakhan fired a shot in the 34th minute from about 30 yards out that was heading to the back of the net before Mitrou dove out to slap the pass away. However, Niall Cousens would head one in past Mitrou in the 38th minute, tying the game at two apiece. The teams would enter halftime in a 2-2 tie.
The Whitecaps opened the scoring in the second half less than a minute in, with Aminu Abdaliha firing a blast that found the top right corner. Blair Sturrock, seeing action for the first time as a Highlander, bicycle kicked an attempted pass to the middle of the net a couple minutes later, failing to connect with any fellow teammates. A cross pass in the 55′ by Riley O’Neill would just miss forward Craig Gorman. Minutes later, Jordie Hughes would finish a scrambled play, finally getting the ball past Carducci, tying the game at three apiece. The tie would not last long, as Dosanjh would fire a shot past Mitrou in the 58′.
The teams would exchange chances throughout the final 30-minutes, with the Whitecaps Cousens converting on a pass from Visintin in the 87th minute. The Whitecaps would take the lead and even the Juan de Fuca plate series at one apiece.
Highlanders: J. Hughes (2), Levis
Whitecaps: Cousens (2), Dosanjh, Lakhan, Abdallah