by Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – It’s a new year and a fresh start for the University of Victoria Vikes men’s field hockey team that started their 2015 campaign off on the right foot with a 2-0 win over Burnaby in Vancouver men’s premier play. Despite forfeiting to UBC for their scheduled first game of the year the Vikes men capitalized this weekend, Jan. 31, on the road against a team they just faced in the Richmond Indoor Tournament just two weeks ago.
Being left for a silver medal at the indoor tournament after a narrow loss to Burnaby, the Vikes were more than motivated for this rematch in outdoor play. Burnaby had the jump start on the Victoria squad though, showing a strong performance from the opening whistle. The Vikes were forced to defend a series of early penalty corners but thanks to the quality play of netminder Toby Owen, Burnaby were held off the board.
As the Vikes started to find their energy, they were soon rewarded and earned three-straight penalty corner chances of their own. Veteran keeper Matt Peck stood tall for Burnaby in the other end of the pitch saving all three set-play attempts. The Vikes managed to capitalize on a free hit at the 23-m line with some crisp passing from the experienced Tyler Klenk and Derek Wiggins. The pair worked the ball outside the circle before smashing it in for Alex Smith to deflect towards new recruit Diederik van de Wiel. The rookie got a stick on it to beat Peck and put the Vikes up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
The Vikes road their momentum of scoring into half, still with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half Victoria earned an early penalty corner opportunity, this time finding the stick of Smith. Connor Martin was the deliverer from the top of the battery as Smith’s deflection gave the Vikes the 2-0 advantage.
“Riley Tringham and Derek Wiggins were oustanding in the back for us,” added Laidman. “The two of them had to contend with team Canada player Gabriel Ho-Garcia, who is usually a lethal attacker. Also, Toby made so many timely saves early on to earn his first shutout of the season. The team really deserved this win and it’s great to see the results pay off after a lot of hard training.”
This weekend the Vikes will head back to the mainland to play India Club, Feb. 8, at 1:30 p.m. in Surrey.