KELOWNA, BC — The UBC Okanagan Heat fell to the team ranked second in the nation as the University of Alberta Golden Bears scored early and protected their home field en route to a 3-1 final Saturday afternoon at Foote Field. The Bears were led offensively by a three goal performance from rookie striker Ajeej Sarkaria.
Sarkaria’s second hat-trick of the season improves his conference goal total to 13 in nine matches so far. He also improved his points total to 17, now seven ahead of second place Dominic Russo of the Calgary Dinos.
Third year Bears keeper Connor James made five saves, earning his fifth clean sheet of the season. Freshman midfielder Nikhil Reddy scored the lone goal of the day for UBC Okanagan.
Sarkaria scored the first goal of the match in the 6th minute, taking a pass from second year midfielder Bruno Zebie and chipping it past Heat keeper Mitch McCaw. His second goal of the match came 11 minutes later, when he put away a rebound from McCaw in the 14th minute.
The Heat took partial control of the match in the second half, with a good chance coming shortly after the break when third-year midfielder Cole Kingzett’s shot was deflected by Connor James’ glove, into the post, and out.
UBC Okanagan got on the board in the 80th minute, with Nikhil Reddy taking a pass from third year defender Ryan Jerry off of a free kick, and putting it into the bottom corner past James.
The Bears lead was put back to two in the 90th minute, with Sarkaria earning his hat trick on a breakaway caused by a Heat turnover.
With the loss, the UBC Okanagan Heat men now hold a record of 3-3-1, and sit in fourth place in Canada West’s Pacific Division. The second ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears stay undefeated, with a record of 8-0-1, and sit atop the conference’s Prairie Division.
The Heat (3-3-1) will stay in Edmonton for the next match, as they play the winless MacEwan Griffins (0-5-2) tomorrow afternoon. 1:30 p.m. PT is the kick off.
The Golden Bears (8-0-1) will also play their next match Sunday afternoon, when they host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (3-5-1).