Canada West men’s soccer final six

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October 30, 2013, VANCOUVER (ISN) – The No. 1-ranked UBC Thunderbirds will welcome the best men’s soccer teams in the Canada West to Vancouver for the league’s Final Six championship tournament, which will run Thursday to Sunday.

All games will be played on David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium on the UBC campus. They will also be streamed with live statistics on CanadaWest.tv.

UBC earned the right to host the event after finishing with a regular season record of 12-1 (with one game cancelled), the best in the Canada West’s Pacific Division.

The Victoria Vikes are the Pacific’s No. 2 seed, while the Fraser Valley Cascades, the only team to beat UBC this year, will make their Canada West post-season debut as the third seeds out of the Pacific. The Saskatchewan Huskies, Alberta Golden Bears and Calgary Dinos, respectively, are the top three teams from the Prairie Division.

The Final Six will begin with an awards banquet on Wednesday night at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites in Vancouver’s West End.

On Thursday afternoon, Alberta and Fraser Valley will open tournament play at 1 p.m., with the victor taking on UBC on Friday at 7 p.m.

Victoria and Calgary will then play at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday with the winner facing Saskatchewan on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

The bronze medal game will be played at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3 to be followed by the championship match at 1 p.m., with the presentation of the Canada West banner and medals to take place at its conclusion.

The two finalists will earn berths to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s soccer championship in Fredericton, N.B.

Last season, UBC claimed the Canada West championship with a 2-1 overtime win at Alberta. The Thunderbirds then went on to claim the CIS national title as well.

Here’s a look at the teams competing in the Canada West Final Six:

Pacific Division

#1 UBC THUNDERBIRDS

  • Head Coach: Mike Mosher (18th season)
  • Regular season record: 12-1-0
  • Regular season standing: 1st, Pacific Division
  • Season record vs. tournament teams: 5-1-0
  • Top 10 final ranking: No. 1
  • Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (five times)
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked: nine times (every week)
  • Past CIS / Canada West award winners: Will Hyde (CW Rookie of the Year – 2009); Mike Mosher (CW Coach of the Year – 2009)
  • Past CIS / Canada West all-stars: Will Hyde (CIS Second Team – 2012; CW First Team–2010, 2012; CW Second Team – 2011); Navid Mashinchi (CIS Second Team – 2011; CW First Team – 2011, 2012); Paul Clerc (CW First Team – 2012)
  • Points leader: Milad Mehrabi (11 G, 6 A, 17 points)
  • Other leader: Navid Mashinchi (6 G, 8 A, 14 pts); Reynold Stewart (8 G, 5 A, 13 pts); Richard Meister (4-0-0, 3 shutouts); Chris Beck (5-0-0, 2 shutouts)
  • Team national ranking (O): Second in total goals (47)
  • Team national ranking (D): Tied for first in total goals against (8)
  • Canada West medals in history: 27 (16 Gold-8 Silver-3 Bronze)
  • Canada West championships won: 16
  • Last Canada West championship: 2012
  • CIS championships won: 12

Despite fielding a much different lineup from the one that captured the 2012 CIS men’s soccer championship, the UBC Thunderbirds were still able to maintain their place atop the Canada West, breaking the league scoring record with 47 goals.

The team went 12-1 during the regular season with the lone loss coming on Sept. 8 to Fraser Valley at Thunderbird Stadium. UBC avenged that defeat on Sept. 20, again at home, by a score of 3-0 and could meet the Cascades again in the semi-finals.

Midfielders Milad Mehrabi and Reynold Stewart blossomed with bigger roles on the team, as they led UBC in goal scoring with 11 and eight goals respectively.

Injuries have kept top defender Will Hyde and last year’s No. 1 goalkeeper Luke O’Shea to just one regular season appearance between them, but head coach Mike Mosher has been able to fill those gaps. Youngster Bryan Fong has been solid as a full-time starter on defence, which has been anchored by Paul Clerc, while Richard Meister, Chris Beck and Ante Boskovic have all been impressive in sharing the goalkeeping duties.

#2 VICTORIA VIKES

  • Head Coach: Bruce Wilson (26th season)
  • Regular season record: 10-3-1
  • Regular season standing: 2nd, Pacific Division
  • Season record vs. final / tournament teams: 3-3-1
  • Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 6
  • Top 10 best ranking: No. 6 (1 time)
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls total): 4
  • Past CIS / Canada West award winners: Cam Hundal (CIS Tournament MVP – 2011; CW Rookie of the Year – 2011); Bruce Wilson (CW Coach of the Year – 2011)
  • Past CIS / Canada West all-stars: Andrew Ravenhill (CW First Team – 2012); Cam Hundal (CW Second Team 2011, 2012); Elliot Mitrou (CW First Team – 2011; CIS Second Team – 2011); Craig Gorman (CW First Team – 2011); Gavin Barrett (CW Second Team – 2012; CW First Team – 2011; CIS Second Team – 2011)
  • Points leader: Cameron Stokes (11 G, 5 A, 16 points)
  • Other leader: Cam Hundal (11 G, 2 A, 13 pts); Craig Gorman (4 G, 7 A, 11 pts), Elliot Mitrou (10-3-1, 5 Shutouts)
  • Team national ranking (O): 3rd in total goals (40)
  • Team national ranking (D): Tied for 18th in total goals against (18)
  • Canada West medals in history: 18-4-1 (G-S-B)
  • Canada West championships won: 18
  • Last Canada West championship: 2009
  • CIS championships won: 5

Thirteen players from the 2011 University of Victoria Vikes’ CIS championship-winning squad return to avenge last season’s first round playoff exit and make a run at a 2013 Canada West title in this year’s playoffs.

After dropping their season-opening match to UBC on home soil, the UVic Vikes went on a four-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents by a 15-5 margin in the process. Losing only two games since their initial winning streak, the Vikes have found scoring from 2011 Canada West Rookie of the Year Cam Hundal and second-year Vike Cameron Stokes. Both Vikes finished the 2013 regular season tied atop the leaderboard in goal scoring with 11 goals apiece, tied with Milad Mehrabi of UBC.

In addition to a high-powered offence, the Vikes feature fifth-year goalkeeper Elliot Mitrou, who has started every match in the 2013 season. Mitrou has allowed two or fewer goals in 13 of the Vikes 14 matches, posting five clean sheets in the process. Fifth-year captain Andrew Ravenhill has also been instrumental on the back-end for the Vikes, stifling opposition scoring throughout the season.

In his 26th season at the helm of the UVic men’s soccer program, 2011 Canada West Coach of the Year Bruce Wilson has guided his team to six Canada West titles and five CIS national titles.

#3 FRASER VALLEY CASCADES

  • Head Coach: Alan Errington (9th season)
  • Regular season record: 6-7-1
  • Regular season standing: 3rd, Pacific Division
  • Season record vs. tournament teams: 2-5
  • Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): N/A
  • Top 10 best ranking: N/A
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked: N/A
  • Past CIS / Canada West award winners: N/A
  • Past CIS / Canada West all-stars: Mark Village (CW Second Team, 2012)
  • Points leader: Connor MacMillan (4 G, 1 A, 5 points); James Najman (3 G, 2 A, 5 points)
  • Other leader: Mark Village (6-6-1, 2 shutouts)
  • Team national ranking (O): 22nd in total goals (19)
  • Team national ranking (D): tied for 29th in total goals against (22)
  • Canada West medals in history: N/A
  • Canada West championships won: None
  • Last Canada West championship: N/A
  • CIS championships won: N/A

The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades men’s soccer team will face the University of Alberta Golden Bears in their first Canada West post-season playoff game since joining the conference in 2006. The Cascades finished the regular season campaign with a 6-7-1 record for 19 points, good for third place in the Pacific Division. UFV was led by fourth-year goalkeeper Mark Village, who posted six wins, two shutouts and a 1.54 goals against average. James Najman and Connor MacMillan led UFV in scoring with five points each.

Prairie Division

#1 SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES

  • Head Coach: Bryce Chapman (9th Season)
  • Regular season record: 8-5-2
  • Regular season standing: 1st, Prairie Division
  • Season record vs. tournament teams: 4-2-1
  • Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): 7
  • Top 10 best ranking: 7 (3 times)
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls total): 5
  • Past CIS / Canada West award winners: Eoin McFadden (CW Student-Athlete Community – 2008)
  • Past CIS / Canada West all-stars: Brett Levis (CW First Team – 2012; CIS Second Team – 2012); Eoin McFadden (CW Second Team – 2009)
  • Points leader: Brett Levis and Luigi Bekwayo (both 7 G, 2 A, 9 pts)
  • Other leader: Garrett Peters (4 G, 5 A, 9 pts)
  • Team national ranking (O): 9th in total goals (28)
  • Team national ranking (D): Tied for 18th in total goals against (18)
  • Canada West medals in history: 2 (0-1-1)
  • Canada West championships won: N/A
  • Last Canada West championship: N/A
  • CIS championships won: None

Winless in their final three matches of the regular season, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies look to return to midseason form as they enter the Canada West Final Six hosted by the UBC Thunderbirds. Saskatchewan opened the season with a three-game winning streak before dropping three of their next four matches to hit the halfway mark of the schedule with a 4-3 record. The Huskies would respond in the second half of the season going 4-1-1 in their next six games with wins over Alberta, Trinity Western and Fraser Valley. Saskatchewan’s 0-2-1 finish to the season was still good enough to clinch top spot in the Prairie division and a bye to the Canada West semifinal.

The Final Six will be the Huskies’ second visit to UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium this year. On Sept. 27, Saskatchewan lost an entertaining 3-2 match to UBC on an 88th-minute goal by the home team. The Huskies had tallied twice in the second half to tie the game.

#2 ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS

  • Head Coach: Len Vickery (29th season)
  • Regular season record: 7-6-2
  • Regular season standing: 2nd, Prairie Division
  • Season record vs. tournament teams: 4-3
  • Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): N/A
  • Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (once)
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls total): 5
  • Points leader: Marcus Johnstone (5 G, 2 A, 7 pts); Niko Saler (2 G, 5 A, 7 pts); Mohamed Teliani (3 G, 4 A, 7pts)
  • Other leader: Jay Vetsch (6-5-2, 5.5 shutouts)
  • Team national ranking (O): 13th in total goals (25)
  • Team national ranking (D): Tied for 24th in total goals against (20)
  • Canada West medals in history: 35 (8-12-15)
  • Canada West championships won: 8
  • Last Canada West championship: 2011
  • CIS championships won: 4

The University of Alberta Golden Bears are a streaky team. They come into the Canada West Final Six on their second three-game losing skid of the season, having lost at home to Winnipeg and twice to Mt. Royal in a home-and-home series to end the year. But they are a talented team that also has a four-match and a three-match winning streak on the books this season.

Marcus Johnstone led the Golden Bears in scoring with five goals and seven points, despite playing in just 11 games. Mohamed Teliani (three goals and four assists) and Niko Saler (two goals and five assists) also recorded seven points this year. Jermele Campbell chipped in with three markers in 2013, all game winners.

The Bears boast an experienced backend, as goalkeeper Jay Vetsch and a number of defenders are fifth-year seniors.

Last season, they lost the Canada West championship game in overtime to UBC.

#3 CALGARY DINOS

  • Head Coach: Brian McDonnell (4th season)
  • Regular season record: 6-6-2
  • Regular season standing: 3rd, Prairie Division
  • Season overall record: 6-6-2
  • Season record vs. tournament teams: 1-5
  • Top 10 final ranking: N/A
  • Top 10 best ranking: N/A
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked: N/A
  • Past CIS / Canada West award winners: N/A
  • Past CIS / Canada West all-stars: Izak Lawrence (CW Second Team, 2010, 2012); Brett Howard (CW Second Team, 2010)
  • Points leader: Izak Lawrence (7 G, 2 A, 9 pts)
  • Other leader: Kieran Lane-Oppenheim (1 G, 5 A, 6 pts)
  • Team national ranking (O): 23rd in total goals (18)
  • Team national ranking (D): tied for 29th in total goals against (22)
  • Canada West medals in history: 1 (1-0-0)
  • Canada West championships won: 1 (1980)
  • Last Canada West championship: 1980
  • CIS championships won: N/A

The University of Calgary Dinos have had a rollercoaster season, but have once again qualified for the Canada West Final Six for the second consecutive year.

With a 6-6-2 record, the Dinos finished in third in the Prairie Division, taking the final spot in the playoffs. They are set to play the Victoria Vikes in the quarter-finals on Oct. 31 at 3:30 p.m. as both first place teams get a bye into the semis.

The last time Calgary and Victoria met was Oct. 19 when the Vikes handily defeated the visiting Dinos 4-1. In the game, the Dinos scored just 15 minutes in with a goal from fourth-year John Troncoso, but would let the lead fade away as the Vikes scored three unanswered goals from then on out to win it. Cam Hundal scored a hat-trick with two goals in the first half, and another with six minutes left in the game.

Izak Lawrence will finish his career as a Dino this season, and will finish at the team-high scorer. This season he scored seven gaols and added two assists for 16 points and it would only be fitting to win the championship before moving on. Kieran Lane-Oppenheim had seven points for the Dinos in 14 games including one goal and five assists and both Jaron Broom and Troncoso scored three goals each for Calgary. Starting goalkeeper Jordan Unreiner recorded two shut outs this season and finished with a 1.27 goals against average, with 46 saves in 11 games.

Should the Dinos defeat the Vikes, they will advance to the Canada West semi-finals the following day where the winner is set to play Saskatchewan. The last time the Dinos played the Huskies, each team won in a 1-0 game on a doubleheader weekend in Saskatoon.

About Canada West Universities Athletic Association

Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, winning 100 CIS national over the last 10 seasons. Comprised of 17 schools from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada West produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games. canadawest.org / canadawest.tv / @cwuaa on Twitter

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