By Paul Cartledge, Alberta Golden Bears Athletics
October 13, 2013, EDMONTON – With the post-season only three weeks away, the University of Alberta Golden Bears did all they could this weekend to get closer, taking a full six points in two games after a 2-0 win over the University of Victoria Vikes, Sunday afternoon at Foote Field.
Fourth-year forward Jermele Campbell and rookie midfielder Ajay Khabra netted the tallies for Alberta while team-leading scorer Marcus Johnstone added a couple assists. Senior netminder and Canada West All-Star Jay Vetsch made seven saves for his sixth shutout of the season.
Third-year midfielder Craig Gorman led all players with six shots in the game, the Victoria, B.C. native doing his best to grab the win for the visitors. Despite the loss, the 6-3-1 Vikes still clinched a playoff spot in the Pacific Division on Sunday.
The Golden Bears improve to 6-3-2 on the season, staying one point ahead of the third-place Calgary Dinos in the Prairie Division, but only first-place Saskatchewan has punched a ticket to the post-season thus far. Only the top three teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.
The visiting Vikes had the better chances in the first half, their first great opportunity coming in the 27th minute when Canada West All-Star Cam Hundal had perfect positioning inside the 18-yard box but Gorman regrettably got in the way of his teammate’s shot.
Trying to redeem himself in the 39th minute, Gorman’s shot off a free kick beelined for the top left corner of the Alberta net but Vetsch got over in time to punch the ball out.
Sophomore midfielder Sam Prette then tried to break the goose egg for Victoria in the 67th minute but his strike from 15 yards out ricocheted off the inside of the near post and out.
Alberta responded with Johnstone putting a nice through ball to Campbell in the 73rd minute, the Edmonton native driving his shot to the center of the net for his third goal, and third game-winner, of the season.
Gorman and company directed four more shots towards the Bears net but Vetsch and his defence prevented any comeback, yet the strong offensive pressure indirectly gave Alberta two great chances in injury time.
Freshman defender Tolu Esan put a shot off the crossbar before Johnstone nabbed a loose ball inside the 18-yard box, putting a short pass to Khabra who roofed the insurance marker for his first on the season.
The Golden Bears remain at home next weekend to square off against fourth-place Winnipeg in a divisional two-game series battle while Victoria returns to B.C. to host the Lethbridge Pronghorns and Calgary Dinos. Both games wlil be broadcast live at http://canadawest.tv