UBC Thunderbirds advance to CIS National Final

UBC Thunderbirds

November 8, 2013, Fredericton, NB (ISN) – The UBC Thunderbirds are headed back to the CIS Championship final after defeating the York Lions 2-1 in the national semi-final Friday evening at BMO Field in Fredericton, NB.

The defending CIS champions, UBC looks to become the first program to repeat as national champions since Wilfrid Laurier in 2000-01.

For game highlights http://youtu.be/_jyk5PJ4MKg 

Tied 1-1 after the first half, the Canada West leading scorer during the regular season would put the Thunderbirds in front for good in the 59th minute. On a give and go withNavid Mashinchi, Milad Mehrabi buried his first of the tournament to put UBC in front 2-1.

“That was the best one I have scored all year,” said Milad Mehrabi. “We worked hard all season and it is just great to get back to the finals again.”

“Milad and Navid are good friends, roommates on the road and they connect off each other and know where one another are,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher. “Navid laid it out there on a platter, nice little back heel and a nice finish by Milad.”

The Lions would have a couple of late chances but UBC’s strong defence and a couple of key saves from Luke O’Shea sealed the victory.

The Thunderbirds did not get off to the type of start they wanted, giving up a goal in the 12th minute to Dylan Sacramento to give the OUA Champions a 1-0 lead. It was just the 10th goal against all season in 17 games (regular season and playoffs).

“I knew it was early enough in the game, that we would have plenty of time to get it back,” said Mosher, the CIS Coach of the Year. “We have confidence and lot of guys who have the ability to score goals. That wasn’t a worry. We had to start playing better, competing better, that was the worry in the first 20 minutes.”

The ‘Birds would score the equalizer in the 25th minute. Fresh off getting his head bandaged from an earlier bump, Sean Einarsson returned to the pitch to re-direct Mashinchi’s free kick into the back of the net, scoring his second goal of the tournament and tieing the game at 1-1.

That would remain the score at the end of the half. The break would allow Mosher to have a few strong words with his team in the dressing room.

“We had a bit of a go at them at halftime. I told them, It took us 20-25 minutes to get going. This is an opportunity to go to a national final, you have got to leave it out there.”

Friday was the second straight game UBC played without Canada West Player of the Year Reynold Stewart. He sustained an injury on Wednesday in practice and has been unable to play. Perhaps a day off before the final on Sunday will give him enough time to get back in the line up.

This game marked the first time York and UBC have faced off against each other since the 2010 CIS National FInal. A game the Lions won 1-0 over the Thunderbirds. Back in 2007, UBC defeated York in the semi-final en route to win a national championship at Thunderbird Stadium.

UBC will face either the host University of New Brunswick or Laval in Sunday’s final. The Thunderbirds played both teams at the 2012 CIS Championships in Quebec City, defeating the Varsity Reds 4-0 and the Rouge et Or 3-0.

The final is set for 2:00 pm AST (10:00 am PST) on Sunday and can be seen live at http://www.cis-sic.tv 

The Thunderbirds have won a CIS record 12 men’s national titles in soccer.