Late goal from local freshman Young gives Heat season-opening win

Spencer Young’s first career Heat goal was a game winner to kick off the 2016 season.

KELOWNA, BC — The UBC Okanagan Heat defeated the University of Victoria Vikes 1-0 on Saturday evening at Nonis Field in Kelowna.

In the first game of his career with the Heat, freshman defender and local Kelowna product Spencer Young scored the match’s only goal in the 88th minute to earn his new team a win to open their 2016 campaign. Sophomore midfielder Robert Hamilton earned the assist on the goal.

This was UBC Okanagan’s first ever win against Victoria in conference play after playing the Vikes to three straight draws and falling in their first ever Canada West matchup in 2014.

Young was one of four first year Heat players to start the match, along with fellow Kelowna recruit Corbin Beauchemin, Wyatt Gilbert from Langley, and Christian Taylor from Courtenay. Also starting in his first match for the Heat was fourth year keeper Mitch McCaw, who transferred from Concordia University.

As it was the first match of the season for both teams, the first half saw some shaky moments on either side. The second half started with both the Heat and the Vikes evidently calmed after the break, and both teams put together better chances in the final 45 minutes.

For the Heat, sophomore midfielder Jeevin Kang and freshman defender Spencer Young had the best chances of the match. Kang put his best shot of the match just barely wide right in the 63rd minute.

Spencer Young’s first strong chance of the match came in the 73rd minute, with a shot from slightly outside the penalty area that was punched just over the crossbar by Victoria keeper Noah Pawlowski.

Robert Hamilton, a substitute in the 63rd minute, also had a shot on goal that forced Pawlowski to make a challenging save in the 83rd minute. Hamilton made the most of his second opportunity to contribute a point moments later, as he fed a pass out of a scramble to Spencer Young, who buried his shot in the top right corner from a stride inside the 18-yard box in the 88th minute.

Victoria challenged McCaw late in the second half as well, with Paulo Dait and Samuel Prette forcing the Heat keeper to make two saves, in the 59th and 65th minutes. Dait also had possibly Victoria’s best chance of the match in the 61st minute, when he rocketed a shot just over the crossbar.

The University of Victoria finished the match with 13 shots, 6 of which were on goal, and UBC Okanagan finished with 10 shots, 7 of which were on goal. Each team finished with 9 fouls and a yellow card apiece. The first yellow card of the match was given to UBC Okanagan’s Christian Taylor, and the second went to Victoria’s Jyotish Khanna.

With the 1-0 victory, new Heat keeper Mitch McCaw earned his first clean sheet of the season with 2 saves. Vikes keeper Noah Pawlowski made 5 saves and allowed the match’s only goal.

Players of the Match were UBC Okanagan’s Hamish Walde and Victoria’s Keegan Lang.

Both teams will play their next matches tomorrow, August 28. The University of Victoria (0-1) will travel to Kamloops to take on TRU (0-1), and UBC Okanagan (1-0) will host UBC (1-0).