KAMLOOPS, BC — A playoff atmosphere in Kamloops led to an intense match that didn’t go the visiting UBC Okanagan’s way as the Heat gave up a goal in the 83rd minute to fall (1-0) to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at Hillside Stadium on a wet and cold Thursday night.
Tait Cuthill started in goal for UBC Okanagan and used all of his 6’5″ frame and sometimes had help from the post as the ‘Pack tested the fourth year keeper all match long. TRU was on the offensive for most of the match posting 22 shots, forcing Cuthill to make six saves, several late in the scoreless match seemed to deflate the TRU forwards.
TRU was able to persevere over Cuthill’s stonewalling efforts, in the 83rd minute Josh Donaldson lined up for a free kick 35-yards out and sent the ball around the UBCO line and past Cuthill into the top right corner. Donaldson has now scored seven goals on the year. The Heat never were able to generate much of an attack as they only managed three shots, TRU keeper Claye Harsany earned the win and shutout without having to make a save.
For the Heat offensively Jeevin Kang, Corbin Beauchemin and Nikhil Reddy all had the ball on their foot in threatening areas but were unable to get a strike on net.
The loss by UBCO in Kamloops, really tightens up the Canada West Pacific Division standings where the top four teams make the playoffs. The Heat still are in third place with 14 points (4-5-2) record, tied for fourth are the WolfPack (4-6-1) and the UFV Cascades (4-5-1) both with 13 points. UNBC has 10 points in sixth and Victoria is seventh with nine points. Trinity Western and UBC are comfortably in first, each with 26 points.
Both coaches commented on the playoff intensity of the match following the 90-minute battle.
TRU head coach John Antulov felt that there was tangible “Intensity right from the beginning. It was a battle until the end. It ended on a beautiful goal and I was happy about that.”
Heat coach Dante Zanatta agreed that the match was played with urgency. “I thought both teams played with good spirit. Both are fighting for the playoff spot. They were the better team tonight. They had more chances. Fully deserved the victory.”
Her also commented on Cuthill’s performance “A couple of shots were right at him. He made a couple of good saves. Full credit to the saves he made and full credit to TRU for creating the chances.”
“We continued to battle and play,” Zanatta explained on what he liked about his squad tonight. “Second half we were better going forward. We are a very young team. To learn to play at this level is a process. We are moving in the right direction. It was a big second half for us. I am very proud the way they came out. I am very proud of the performance by our boys.”
The two teams will finish up the home and home series on Saturday (Oct 8) when the battle will resume this time at Nonis Field at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna. Kick off will be 3 p.m.
HEAT NOTES: This was the second game in any sport between the two schools in the President’s Cup competition. There is a trophy for both men’s and women’s sports (soccer, basketball and volleyball). The score will compiled all season long. Each school came away with a win on Thursday.