Canada West Final Four Preview

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SASKATCHEWAN HOSTS CANADA WEST MEN’S SOCCER FINAL FOUR

(ISN) – For the first time in 11 years, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies will host the Canada West Men’s Soccer Final Four.

The conference championship is slated to kickoff Friday on Field 7 in PotashCorp Park. It is the first-time in 2014, the divisions will cross-over.

Returning to the championship is reigning Canada West and CIS champion UBC Thunderbirds, the 2011 CIS champion Victoria Vikes, the Alberta Golden Bears and the host Huskies.

Live stats will be available on canadawest.org

Canada West Final Four Schedule:
Friday, October 31
11:30am – Alberta Golden Bears @ UBC Thunderbirds
2pm – Victoria Vikes @ Saskatchewan Huskies
Saturday, November 1
11:30am – Bronze Medal Match
2pm – Championship Final

Team Profiles:

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS, PRAIRIE 2
2014 Record/Finish: 6-3-3, 3rd Prairie Division
Last Canada West Final Four: 2012, 2nd
Last CIS Championship: 2012, 7th

Plagued by injuries throughout the 2014 season, Alberta has found a way to win to return to the Canada West Final Four for the first time since 2012.

Playing without fifth-year striker and 2013 leading scorer Marcus Johnstone for the majority of the season, the Golden Bears were led by Jermele Campbell and captain CJ Gilroy on offence in 2014. Fifth-year Campbell scored three goals and a team-leading six assists, while Gilroy tallied six goals and three assists.

Campbell made his mark sending the Golden Bears to the Final Four scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Calgary Dinos in the quarter-final matchup.

Rookie Connor James leads the Canada West Final Four keepers with 47 saves in his 12 matches started. He finished the season with a 1.67 goals against average.

VICTORIA VIKES, PACIFIC 2
2014 Record/Finish: 8-1-3, 2nd Pacific Division
Last Canada West Final Four: 2014, 4th
Last CIS Championship: 2011, CIS Champions

A perennial contender, the Victoria Vikes enter the tournament with experience. Victoria has competed at the Canada West Final Four in four of the last five seasons.

After starting the Canada West season with their only loss – a 3-1 decision to the Thunderbirds – Victoria has gone undefeated since. The Vikes advanced to the championship with a 2-1 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades.

Victoria’s offence comes from third-year midfielder Cam Stokes, who led the Vikes with eight goals and one assist. Dominic Colantonio, a third-year midfielder, was second in scoring for the Vikes with four goals and four assists.

Fifth-year defender Alex Redpath provided stability on the Vikes backline playing in all 12 games. He also chipped in on offence with two assists.

Keeper Noah Pawlowski started 11 of the Vikes 12 matches in 2014 making 40 saves and allowing 10 goals with four shutouts.

UBC THUNDERBIRDS, PACIFIC 1
2014 Record/Finish: 9-2-1, 1st Pacific Division
Last Canada West Final Four: 2013, Canada West Champions
Last CIS Championship: 2013, CIS Champions

Winning two straight Canada West and CIS Championships, the UBC Thunderbirds enter as the favourite in the four-team tournament.

The Thunderbirds advanced with a 3-0 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat.

Lead by an experienced group including fifth-year striker Navid Mashinchi and fourth-year forward and 2013 Canada West tournament MVP Niall Cousens, the Thunderbirds have scored 33 goals in the 2014 season.

Mashinchi led the Canada West with nine assists and tallied a team-high eight goals. Second-year Sean Einarsson added another seven goals, while Cousens scored six goals and four assists.

Most impressive on the season was the T-Birds allowing opponents to score just seven goals in 12 matches. The backline is led by fifth-year Paul Clerc, a two-time CIS All-Canadian, and third-year Bryan Fong. Adding to the mix is rookie Chris Serban, a Vancouver Whitecaps residency graduate. He played all but 16 minutes in his 11 matches in 2014.

Fifth-year Richard Meister started the majority of the games for the T-Birds with six throughout the regular season allowing just one goal. Luke O’Shea and Ante Boskovic each started three matches in the season.

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES, PRAIRIE 1
2014 Record/Finish: 9-1-2, 1st Prairie Division
Last CW Final Four: 2013, 2nd
Last CIS Championship: 2013, 6th

For the third time in four seasons, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies will make an appearance at the Canada West Final Four.

The Huskies advanced as hosts of the conference championship tournament after finishing first in the Prairie Division with a 9-1-2 record and a 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Wesmen in the quarter-final matchup.

Scoring a Canada West-best 44 goals this season, the Huskies have a potent, quick offence that likes to strike early.

Two-time All-Canadian Brett Levis has led the scoring attack for the Huskies recording a Canada West-leading nine goals on the season. He added another two goals and an assist for the Huskies in the quarter-final win. Despite sitting out the quarter-final with an injury, David Brown adds a big body to the front and offence. The 6-2 forward tallied eight goals in the regular season – five on the penalty kick.

Keeper Michal Bandula started in all but the final match of the season for the Huskies. He has allowed just 12 goals this season – including the one given up in the quarter-final.

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