Thunderbirds open Canada West playoffs Friday versus UBC Okanagan

Navid Mashinchi

Vancouver, BC – It is the playoff time in Canada West soccer and the two-time defending CIS Champion UBC Thunderbirds will play host to UBC Okanagan Friday night in the Canada West quarter-finals. Game time is 7:00 pm at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium.
The Thunderbirds finished first in the Pacific Division with a 9-2-1 record, while UBCO were fourth with a record of 5-5-2. The winner will advance to the Canada West Final Four which will be hosted by the top seed from the Prairie Division. 
The odds are in the Thunderbirds favour, but in a one-match knockout anything can happen. UBCO started the season strong going 3-1-0 out of the gate, but won just two of their final eight games. However, one of those wins was over Fraser Valley who defeated UBC earlier this season. 
The two teams met twice during the regular season UBC emerged victorious both times, defeating the Heat 4-0 and 2-0. Niall Cousens led the Thunderbirds with three goals combined in the two head to head battles.
UBC head coach Mike Mosher assured Thunderbirds fans the team is healthy and star player Navid Mashinchi should be back to play after a minor ankle problem. The fifth-year player led UBC with eight goals and nine assists in just nine regular season games.
UBC Okanagan has only scored 13 goals, averaging one goal per game, while UBC scored 33, averaging just over three goals per game. The difference in offensive power is very obvious and this will probably result in UBCO focusing on a defensive strategy with a reliance on counter attacks. If the Thunderbirds can score an early goal it should open up the play.
Enzo Paal led the Heat with four goals during the regular season. Expect Christopher Cuthill to get the start in net, he allowed 16 goals in 12 games this season.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium.