LANGLEY, British Columbia – The teams each found the back of the net within a minute of each other in a frenetic first half and that was all the scoring there would be as No. 6 Trinity Western played to a 1-1 draw with Mount Royal Friday at Chase Office Field.
Much to the delight of a boisterous home crowd, TWU’s Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary) scored his fourth goal of the year on a penalty in the 28th minute. However, a minute later, MRU’s Justin Anderson-Louch tallied his second of the campaign, when he took advantage of a Spartans miscue and evened the scoreline on a strike from 30 yards out.
With the tie, both teams are now 5-1-1 on the season.
“I think it was an exciting game tonight,” said Spartans coach Mike Shearon. “It was two good teams playing. But while it was exciting, it was also disappointing because we didn’t get the win. Of the two teams, I thought we did more to get the win and were a bit unfortunate. In the end, I’m super proud of the guys and proud of the work rate that they put in. Every guy gave everything that they had, but we ran out of time.”
The Spartans had several opportunities to tally the go-ahead marker, but with Cougars goalkeeper Kamil Zielinski coming up with five saves in the match and TWU sending a variety pack of chances high or wide, the game remained deadlocked.
TWU outshot MRU 14-3. For Spartans goalie Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.), the goal was the only Cougars shot that would hit the target.
Adekugbe opened the scoring when he took advantage of a Cougars hand ball in the box, making no mistake on his penalty.
However, a minute later, TWU’s Hicks whiffed on a clearing attempt and Anderson-Louch found a loose ball and, from well out, beat the Spartans keeper, who was stuck out of position.
In what was a feisty opening 45 minutes, Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) may have had TWU’s best first half chance when he put a well-struck ball on goal, only to be stopped by Zielinski.
“It was an intense first half,” Shearon said. “We don’t play each other of often, but every one of my players knows every one of their players. It was battle of the 403. (MRU coach) Ryan (Gyaki) and I like to have a good time too, so it was interesting. Both coaches were wanting to protect their players and make sure the referee was protecting them and you also have a battle between guys who have grown up playing with each other and against each other. But it was a great soccer game and something Canada West can be proud of.”
The Spartans have nine players who call Calgary home and three more from Strathmore, Alta.
In the second half, Adekugbe, who had a number of second half chances from both open play and set pieces, nearly scored his second of the night in the 62nd minute, but his shot from 25 yards out was deflected clear by a leaping Zielinski.
The Spartans will now host MacEwan (0-4-1) Saturday at 7:15 p.m. while the Cougars will play Fraser Valley Saturday at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Following Friday’s game, TWU held a ceremony to official rename the Spartans pitch Chase Office Field…TWU’s Caleb Johnson (Starthmore, Alta.) and Zielinski were named the MVPs for their respective teams…Friday’s game was the first time all three Johnson brothers started a Canada West regular season contest, with Taylor and Leighton being joined by first-year Caleb.