Craig Gorman in action against the Saskatchewan
(ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team had their CIS hopes crushed today after losing 2-0 to a powerful Saskatchewan Huskies squad today in the Canada West semifinals on Oct. 31 in Saskatoon, Sask. The Vikes will now turn around to play their last game of the 2014 season in the Canada West bronze medal matchup against CIS favourites, the UBC Thunderbirds, who were upset earlier by Alberta.
Two Garrett Peters goals seven minutes apart lifted hosts, the Huskies, over the visiting Vikes. Peters’ goals came in the 23rd and 30th minutes of the first half.
The win booked Saskatchewan a spot in the Canada West Championship match for the second-straight year and, more importantly, a spot to the CIS Championship next weekend hosted by the UPEI Panthers. The Huskies will face the Alberta Golden Bears, who defeated the reigning champion UBC Thunderbirds 2-0 in the first conference semifinal earlier in the day.
“The wind was ridiculous and the conditions were very difficult to play in,” said Bruce Wilson, Vikes men’s soccer head coach. “We did not have a very good first half and we played against the wind. It was a huge factor right from goal kicks to overall play. It was something we knew we were going to have to battle through but we just didn’t deal with it.”
Saskatchewan dominated play in the first half of the match using the wind to their advantage. The Huskies outshot the Vikes 16-4 in the first frame.
Peters’ first goal came from a scramble in front of the net. Canada West First Team All-Star keeper Noah Pawlowskimade two initials stops before the ball bounced onto the foot of Peters. His quick kick rolled into the net in the bottom right corner in the 23rd minute.
Seven minutes later, regular season leading scorer Brett Levis sent a corner kick into the box. Peters’ header popped over an leaping Pawlowski.
Late in the second half, Victoria’s best opportunities to score came on corner kicks. But each time, Saskatchewan keeper Michal Bandula was able to collect the ball above the crowd. In the final two minutes, a long shot by Alex Redpath was stopped by Bandula and another quick shot by Justin Donaldson-Andrade was blocked by a Huskie defender.
Despite the loss Pawlowski was strong in net for the Vikes making six saves. Bandula, a Canada West Second Team All-Star, made four for Saskatchewan.
“They definitely dealt with the conditions much better than us and that was the difference today,” added Wilson. “Tomorrow we will still come out with our usual team and try to finish off strong.”
The bronze medal match featuring the Thunderbirds and Vikes is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CST Saturday, while the championship final is at 2 p.m. between the Huskies and Golden Bears. Both matches are on Field 7 in Saskatoon’s PotashCorp Park. Neither game will be broadcast but live stats are available at canadawest.org.
SASK: 2 – 0 : 2
UVIC: 0 –0 : 0
SASK: Garrett Peters (23′, 30′)