October 12, 2013, KELOWNA, B.C. – With playoffs just around the corner, the last thing the Heat wanted to do was go into their October 13 matchup with one of the hotter teams in the league facing any kind of ‘must-win’ scenario. However, 93 minutes of play versus the visiting Kwantlen Eagles on Saturday would result in a 1-0 heart-dropping loss for the Heat.
“Any time you lose, it stings,” said Heat coach Dante Zanatta postgame. “Especially in a game that… possession wise we were at 65%. We just weren’t good enough on the attacking third today.”
The first-half of the match was marked by a lot of chippy, physical play, but neither team got many quality chances on the net. A 0-0 score into the half looked like the rematch between the teams might result in another draw.
“We have to become better in the attacking third,” Zanatta reiterated about what his team needs to do on the offensive end. “[We need] guys making good decisions, and working off of the ball … some of the guys weren’t getting into areas to create opportunities. When teams compact around the back, we were trying to play too many of the ‘million dollar balls’ instead of creating opportunities and moving the defenders out.”
The Heat did try and create a few opportunities in the second half. Tanner Brydges (2nd year, Drayton Valley, AB) received a bouncing pass in front of the net and caught the Eagles’ keeper backpedalling, but his shot would be just wide of the right post. In extra time, Dylan Abbott (3rd year, Salmon Arm, BC) would get a free kick about 30 meters out, but the Kwantlen keeper would make the save at the top right corner as the final whistle blew.
Kwantlen’s Rylan Sangha would break free from his defender at the Heat net and send his shot across to the right side where it would just slip past Heat keeper Logan Ellis (2nd year, Calgary, AB) in the 81st minute for the winning goal.
The Heat’s third year midfielder Donald Straith (Victoria, BC) was named the Grand 10 Cinemas’ Heat Player of the Game for his efforts all over the field.
The Heat are now 5-4-2 while the Eagles move to 2-6-3 for the season (W-L-T). The Heat will be back in action tomorrow versus the Douglas College Royals at 2 p.m. to keep their playoff hopes alive.
After Saturday’s PACWEST action around the league, the Heat still cling to the fourth and final playoff seed with 17 points. Trailing right behind are the Vancouver Island Mariners who, after their loss to the Langara Falcons, stay in fifth with 15 points.
Of the two teams, the Heat have the much harder schedule over the final three games of the season. They play the third-seeded Royals (22 points) tomorrow, then host the top-seeded Langara Falcons on Saturday (Oct. 19) and finish with the winless Quest Kermodes at home on Sunday, October 20.
The Mariners, meanwhile, visit the Quest Kermodes on Sunday (Oct. 13), then play the seventh-seeded Eagles and the Royals next Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
In the event of a tie with VIU, the tiebreaker will be determined by the following procedure:
- a) The record between the two teams
- b) the team with the most league wins
- c) the team with the least league losses
- d) the team with the best goals for/against ratio for all league games (subtract the goals against from the goals for, the higher number wins)
- e) A playoff game to be played at a neutral site