Veterans lead Vikes to victory in regular season finale

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Cam Hundal

#23 Cam Hundal   

By: James Nielsen,

(ISN) – VICTORIA – In their final game of the 2014 regular season, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s squad closed out the Fraser Valley Cascades 3-1, Oct. 18 at Centennial Stadium thanks to timely contributions from their veteran core.

Cam Hundal notched a goal in the first half for the Vikes, while Rhyse Harnden and Cam Stokes tallied for the home side in the second half. Noah Pawlowski earned the victory between the woodwork for Victoria.

Although looking like the more urgent team for large stretches of the match, the Cascades were able to get just one ball to the back of the net, with Tammer Byrne earning the lone goal. In net, Mark Village made six saves in a losing cause.

After posting a goal in their final minute against the UBC Thunderbirds, the Vikes opened up their regular season finale with a tally in the opening minute to shock the visitors early. Running at full steam, Hundal neatly tapped in cross from Dominic Colantonio just a yard from Fraser Valley’s touch-line to put his side up 1-0.

The visitors refused to cave, battling hard and earning a corner in the seventh minute as Byrne worked inside the attacking zone to force a corner kick, but they would ultimately fall short on their first quality opportunity of the game.

Continuing to press for an equalizer, Byrne was rewarded with the Cascades goal at 22 minutes of play as an Elijah Sampson cross to the near post appeared to be cleared on the line by Victoria before Byrne managed to redirect it with a header past Pawlowski.

With possession edging in Fraser Valley’s favour, Cascade Colton O’Neill put his speed on display, using it to break down the pitch before unloading a blast on net that forced Pawlowski to dive to his left to save. The somewhat conservative first half would end in a draw, with the visitors holding a 5-3 edge in shots through 45 minutes.

Tempo in the match picked up in the second half, with Fraser Valley threatening early as midfielder Ryan Liddiard’s blast from the corner of the 18-yard-box rang off the Vikes’ left post on 53-minutes.

At the other end of the pitch, the Vikes were able to earn their first sustained time in the attacking zone since early in the first half after being awarded three successive corner kicks. They nearly converted on the opening set piece as a Stokes-taken corner was deflected on target, forcing Village to make his top save of the night as he fully extended to push the ball over the crossbar.

With momentum turning in their favour, Victoria’s Harnden put his side up a goal again, jumping on an Alex Redpath feed and redirecting the ball into the back of the net at 65 minutes of play.

For the most part, Victoria was able to shut down Fraser Valley’s attempts on net in the final half, save for a late Pawlowski save from in tight that appeared headed for the back of the net before the third-year transfer deflected it away from danger. Aside from the clutch save, the Victoria ‘keeper made just one other stop in the final half, finishing with five total on the night.

With the Cascades pushing for the equalizer, it was Victoria who put the game away in injury time with Stokes notching his eighth goal of the season to put his side up 3-1. The graduating senior fired a shot past Village from in tight off a cross from teammate Justin Donaldson-Andrade just before the final whistle blew.

Like their female counterparts, Saturday’s match was significant for the Vikes as it represented eight players playing in their final CIS regular season match. Vikes captain Alex Redpath, Harnden, Craig Taylor, Spencer MacKinnon, Stokes, Adam Plantinga, Dominic Colantonio and Aaron Murphy all suited up for the Vikes for the last time in regular season play.

As a result of finishing in second place in the Pacific Division, the Vikes men will host next weekend’s Canada West quarter-final match at 7:15 p.m, Oct. 25 at Centennial Stadium as they look for a berth in the Canada West final four. Playoff ticket prices will be in effect. For more information please visit www.govikesgo.com/tickets.

GAME SUMMARY
UFV: 1-0: 1
UVIC: 1-2: 3

SCORING SUMMARY
UFV: Tammer Byrne (22′)
UVIC: Cam Hundal (1′), Rhyse Harnden (65′), Cam Stokes (90′)

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