On the road, Heat play Cascades to a draw

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The Heat's Sam McDonald gets his head on the ball in Abbotsford - Dan Kinvig Photo

Sam McDonald scored his third goal of the season for the Heat. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for UBC Okanagan to earn the road win.

The University of the Fraser Valley’s sophomore centre back, Sahib Sidhu, struck in the 72nd minute to help the host Cascades earn a 1-1 draw vs. the UBC Okanagan Heat at MRC Sports Complex.

Sam McDonald, in the 31st minute, had staked the Heat to a 1-0 lead, but it was Sidhu who picked an opportune time to notch his first career Canada West goal and play the hometown hero.

Both teams are back in action on Saturday – the Cascades (1-2-2) hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (7 p.m., MRC Sports Complex), and the Heat (3-1-1) visiting the Trinity Western Spartans (7:15 p.m.). The games will be webcast at CanadaWest.tv presented by Co-op.

Both teams had good looks in the early going off set pieces. Just over a minute in, Sidhu got his head on the end of Gurmaan Jhaj’s free-kick, but he directed the ball right at UBCO keeper Nicholas Reitsma.

Shortly thereafter, the Heat’s Spencer Young had a free kick in Cascades territory, and he sent a ball to the far post where McDonald was all by himself, but he directed his shot wide of the post.

The Heat would take over the proceedings for the balance of the first half, maintaining possession for long stretches and outshooting UFV 8-2. The visitors opened the scoring on a dizzying passing sequence in the 31st minute, weaving their way through the UFV defence before Luke Warkentin’s final pass found McDonald alone in front of Cascades keeper Ethan Duggan for the close-range finish.

UFV was much better in the second half, outshooting the Heat 7-2 over the final 45 minutes.

They were rewarded in the 72nd. On a scramble off a long throw-in from Atle Koellmel, Manpal Brar headed the ball forward and Gurmaan Jhaj claimed possession in a crowd of UBCO defenders. Moving to his left, he unleashed a shot that was blocked by a Heat defender, and Sidhu was johnny-on-the-spot to fire the rebound into the top corner.

“I thought the first half we played quite well – we could have been up two or three,” UBCO head coach Dante Zanatta said, alluding to the missed back-post chance in the early going. “We talked about not giving the Cascades an opportunity in the second half to get into a bit of a battle and get their foot into it, and we let them in right off the bat. They didn’t give up – they continued to compete, and it was a good match. At the end of the day, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t take the three (points).”