“We were due for a little bit of luck. It was the same ending that we had in Kelowna only this time it was us scoring the goal in extra time,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “I give our team full credit, we kept battling and at the end of the day we managed to head one in.”
Victoria keeper Noah Pawlowski was the difference for the Vikes until the late game heroics, making five saves to keep the ‘Horns off the scoreboard as the ‘Horns had quality chances in both halves to break the deadlock.
“When you can stop the other team from scoring, your best players usually are the back four and the goalkeeper, and that was the case today,” said Wilson.
Lethbridge had 16 shot attempts to the Vikes nine.
With the loss, the ‘Horns fall to 2-6-1 on the season, while the Vikes improve to 3-4-0.
From the outset, the ‘Horns put the Vikes on their heels and created several quality early chances. Kendell Wiens had a shot blocked, Kyle Angerilli was stopped by Pawlowski and Chris Rushworth just sailed a shot high, all before the game was 20 minutes old.
The pressure continued with a sequence of three consecutive corner kicks for the ‘Horns. Rushworth made a good individual run but his shot deflected off a Vikes defender and the side of the post. Off the ensuing corner, Blake Pipe got his head on it but Pawlowski was able to push it over the bar for a third corner.
The Vikes did have their chances in the second portion of the opening half. Xavier Araujo forced ‘Horns keeper Nolan French into a diving save in the 33rd minute and the Vikes pressure forced a scramble in the 39th minute but they were not able to capitalize.
Micheal Baart also had a chance to break the deadlock for the Vikes but while he slipped past French, the ball slid wide of the post.
In the opening half, the ‘Horns managed three shots on goal to the Vikes one, while corners were even at three.
Looking to pick up from where they left off, the ‘Horns pushed forward and a slick three way passing play gave the home side their first chance of the second half. Rushworth played the ball into Nico Pasquotti, who fed a beautiful ball into Stephen Primeau but again Pawlowski made a big save to keep the game even.
From a set piece, the Vikes came close to breaking the deadlock but the swing cross went untouched in the ‘Horns penalty area and slid to touch.
The ‘Horns continued to carry the offensive play but could not find that elusive first goal. Primeau had a partial break but a Vikes defender got a piece of his shot and Rushworth had a sharp angle shot but he couldn’t slip it past Pawlowski.
The Vikes travel to Calgary to face the Calgary Dinos, tomorrow September 25. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. as the Vikes take on a Dinos team that currently has a record of five wins and two losses.
“Tomorrow is another big game. If we can win there that would put us right back into contention, playoff wise,” said Wilson.