VANCOUVER – Third year Heat forward Luke Warkentin scores his third goal on the season; however, his offense was not enough to derail the UBC Thunderbirds who earned a third straight victory in handling UBC Okanagan (3-1) Saturday night at Thunderbird stadium.
Warkentin now has nine career goals for his UBC Okanagan side and with his next goal he will become the seventh player in school history to reach double-digit in goals.
It was the visitors who managed the best early chance in the third minute off a corner kick as Heat defender Shaun Pilcher connected on a powerful glancing header from seven yards out but UBC goalkeeper Jason Roberts was in great position to hoover it up near post.
13 minutes later it was the ‘Birds that would open the scoring as midfielder Thomas Gardiner scored for a second straight night from a free kick. The freshman confidently depositing a well struck curling ball into the top left corner from 19 yards out past a diving UBCO goalie Nicholas Reitsma to make it 1-0 in the 16th minute.
In the 39th minute the T-Birds increased their lead to 2-0 thanks to a beautifully executed play beginning from the backline with Riley Pang’s 45-yard-long through ball that found front runner Taio Marzalik’s foot just beyond the Heat defence. Marzalik showed a silky touch in flicking it out of mid-air and passed the on rushing Reitsma in the UBCO net.
Just on the other side of the break UBC put the game out of reach as forward Kristian Yli Hietanen was sprung free down the left channel sprinting past a defender and with his left foot cut a hard shot across goal into the bottom right corner and a 3-0 lead in the 47th minute.
The Heat wouldn’t go away quietly however, shortly thereafter in minute 57 the visitors made it 3-1 after capitalizing on a free kick from 25 yards out. A low and hard driven shot deflected off Forward Luke Warkentin to the right corner of UBC’s goal after Roberts had already dived to his left.
It would prove to be the final tally of the night as the T-Birds earned a third straight win on home turf while improving to 3-0-1 on the young season. The Heat suffered their second straight setback of the weekend after dropping a 4-3 decision against the UVic Vikes on Friday night.
The Pacific division leading T-Birds will look to extend their winning streak on the road next weekend visiting the Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday, September 15 at 11 a.m. PT followed by a meeting with the Calgary Dinos Sunday, September 16 at 1 p.m. PT.
The UBCO Heat hope to bounce back with road games next weekend against Lethbridge on Saturday and Mount Royal on Sunday.
The Saturday match in Lethbridge is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. PT and the Sunday match in Calgary scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. PT.
~ with notes from Stu Walters, Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations, UBC Thunderbirds