Heat stave off late rally to preserve 3-2 victory

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okanagan heat

Cary Mellon

September 22, 2013, Richmond, BC (ISN) – Coming down the stretch it looked like Logan Ellis (2nd year, Calgary, Alberta) might again extend his shutout streak for the season.

The Langara Falcons rallied late in the second half to make things interesting for the visiting Heat. Ultimately, the No. six ranked Falcons were outlasted by the visiting team for a 3-2 win on Saturday in Richmond.

The Heat got off to a quick start in the match, with both Enzo Paal (1st year, Coldstream, BC) and Danny Chahal (2nd year, Burnaby, BC) chipping in one goal apiece. Paal got his look from the corner about seven minutes in, and Danny would get his from a corner kick thirty-yards out. Neither team would score again heading into the half.

Coming back into the second half, the Heat’s fourth-year midfielder Austin Jones (Vernon, BC) managed a beautiful shot as he turned and spun to hit it top corner.

The Falcons remained resilient, however, with the first of their scorers slipping in an attempt from the corner with 20 minutes to go. Another corner attempt at the 85-minute mark would push the Falcons to within one of the Heat, producing a bit of a sweat on the visiting team.

Time would remain on the Heat’s side, however, as the final whistle came with the score remaining 3-2.

Heat coach Dante Zanatta admitted that it “was not our best performance you might say,” but went on to add that sometimes you need matches like this one to learn from. “Especially some of our younger players who might have never been in these situations before,” he added. “[But] I’m proud of how the guys fought.”

Langara boasts one of the bigger frontlines in the league, prompting Zanatta to joke about whether the Falcons’ soccer players had perhaps chosen the wrong collegiate sport: “They’re a very big, physical team. Their frontline was all 6’3”, 6’3”, 6’3″ … You would think these guys should have been playing for the basketball team instead.”

A slippery pitch also lent itself to a more physical match. “Bit of a small pitch,” said Zanatta. “Guys had a bit of an issue with the slipperiness of the pitch. It was very scrappy.”

The two goals against meant the end of Logan Ellis’ clean-sheet streak, which was three-matches long dating back to the team’s 2-0 win versus Capilano at home on September 8th. “Obviously you want a clean sheet,” said Zanatta with regards to Ellis’ performance, but he emphasized that, still, “A win’s a win.”

The Heat head to Squamish to play the Quest Kermodes Sunday. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

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