VICTORIA—A second half push brought the Vikes back into contention, but in the end they couldn’t pull off the comeback and lost 3-2 to the Alberta Golden Bears, September 17 at Centennial Stadium.
“The thing I like best about the game is that we were down a couple but kept battling. Scored two goals and hit the crossbar, we actually could have gotten a result there,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson.
The game got off to a dream start for the Golden Bears.
Just two minutes into the contest, first-year midfielder Armaan Bhinder found himself with a little bit of space about 25 yards out and unleashed a rocket of a shot that flew perfectly into the top corner of Noah Pawlowski‘s net.
The Vikes fought back after giving up the goal and maintained possession of the ball for long stretches of time, but couldn’t find the crucial pass that would unlock the Alberta defence.
The Prairie Division leading Golden Bears doubled their lead in the 26th minute.
Sarkaria, scored his ninth goal of the season by finishing off a nice passing play from the Golden Bears.
The Golden Bears controlled the flow of the game for the end of the first half and into the beginning of the second.
Sarkaria struck again in the 60th minute. He cut across into the middle of the field from out wide and curled a left foot shot around Pawlowski. With the goal Sarkaria now has ten goals in the first eight games of the season. He leads Canada West in both goals and points.
The third Alberta goal jolted the Vikes awake. From then on out the Vikes controlled the game and did everything in their power to try and salvage a point.
“I thought we played very well. They’re a good team, a top team in our conference. We knew we were in for a battle and I thought stood up to the challenge well,” said Wilson.
The first breakthrough came in the 67th minute.
Relentless Vikes pressure forced a Golden Bears defender to haul his man down in the box, resulting in the Vikes fifth penalty kick of the season.
For the second night in a row it was Dait that stepped up to take the kick for the Vikes and he drilled the ball into the net for his fourth goal of the year.
The goal galvanised the Vikes to attack even more. Only the goalposts stopped the Vikes from scoring another on two separate occasions as the game progressed.
The Vikes were finally rewarded for their attacking enthusiasm in the 90th minute. A corner kick was sent into the Golden Bears 18-yard box and in the mad scramble that ensued, Jones was able to poke the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.
The Vikes continued to press all the way until the final whistle but it was a case of too little too late, as the game ended before they could find the equalizing goal.
After the game Wilson was impressed with the play of the Golden Bears.
“They move very well all around the field. Overall they’re very strong and they have a relatively young team. So they will be a team to be reckoned with over the next couple of years.”
Next up for the Golden Bears will be a pair of home games against UBC Okanagan and Thompson Rivers University on September 24 and 25.
The Vikes will head out on the road to face the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary on September 24 and 25 respectively.
With the Vikes now sitting at a record of two wins and four losses, Wilson knows that his team will be in tough to make the playoffs in the very competitive Pacific Division.
“It’s going to be a battle. I’ve told our team right from the start that our goal is to make the playoffs and I still think we have a shot but we have some very difficult games ahead. There is no easy game this year in our league.”
SCORING 1 2 FINAL
Victoria (2-4-0) 0 2 2
Alberta (7-0-1) 2 1 3
UVIC: #10 Michael Baart
Winnipeg: #10 Ajeej Sarkaria