LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 5 Spartans had an advantage in shots, an edge in shots on target and held the upper hand in possession, but couldn’t find the go-ahead marker as Trinity Western was forced to settle for a 1-1 tie with No. 9 UBC Saturday at Chase Office Field.
The Spartans Vaggeli Boucas (Langley) headed home the tying goal in the 54th minute, but, despite plenty of second half pressure and hitting a cross bar, TWU (8-2-2) came up just shy of uncovering the game-winner.
UBC (6-1-5) opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Titouan Chopin converted a penalty kick.
In a classically physical Canada West match, the Spartans outshot UBC 18-14 and had seven shots on target to the T-Birds three, but UBC goalie Jason Roberts made six saves to preserve the tie. Spartans goalie Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) stopped two of the three shots he faced.
The tie keeps the Spartans three points clear of UBC for first place in the Pacific Division.
“It was a great night,” said Spartans coach Mike Shearon. “Both teams were good and put on a good show. I thought we were a bit unfortunate, but at the same time the game could have gone the other way too. It’s a point and we continue to move on and continue to grow.
“This is great for our confidence. Being able to be on the front foot a lot of the game against UBC is a great confidence builder. I thought we created a lot of good chances. The boys did themselves proud tonight.”
With plenty on the line and an already feisty rivalry on the table, the game had a physical element from the outset.
After a see-saw start, the T-Birds broke through when they earned a penalty after a UBC player was taken down in the box. Chopin buried his chance past Hicks.
The Spartans responded well, but it took until the second half before TWU equalised. Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary) sent a corner into the box and Boucas, who had moved up from his centre back position, got his head to the ball and directed it past Roberts.
The final 35 minutes saw TWU put pressure on UBC from all angles, but couldn’t go ahead.
In the latter stages, UBC pushed back and even put a ball into the box that grazed the crossbar, but, like, TWU, was held off the scoreboard.
TWU will now prepare for a home-and-home series with Fraser Valley, which has the Spartans hosting the Cascades Nov. 7 before a trip to Abbotsford, B.C. Nov. 9. UBC will play Victoria in a home-and-home series Thursday and Saturday.
Game Notes: UBC picked up three yellow cards, with Karn Phagura, Manraj Bains and Darren Rulofs being booked, while TWU’s Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary) was the lone Spartan to see yellow…UBC committed 17 fouls to TWU’s 10…TWU had lost its three previous games to UBC by a combined 9-0…the last time the Spartans took points from the T-Birds was Oct. 19, 2014, when they earned a 1-1 tie.