No. 8 T-Birds beat No. 1 Spartans in battle of Canada West best
VANCOUVER - The no. 8 UBC Thunderbirds (7-3-0) exacted a small
amount of revenge Friday night at Thunderbird Park with a 1-0
victory over no. 1 ranked and previously undefeated Trinity Western
(6-1-3), evening the season series at 1-1 after TWU won 2-1 two
weeks ago in Langley.
With the win, the T-Birds improve from second in the conference into a tie with Spartans atop the Canada West standings with four games remaining to play in the regular season. First place at the end of the regular season hosts the Canada West Final Four.
"Anytime you lose, you try and learn from something that experience and get better," said Mosher, referring to the T-Birds to play since losing to TWU. "Honestly in all three games we lost this year with a bit of luck we might have won all of them. We are happy with the overall quality of play so far and this was another clean sheet at home for us. Anytime you beat Trinity you know it is well deserved, as they always work extremely hard."
Tonight's affair was a tightly contested right from the first whistle. The T-Birds had a slight advantage early on, earning long stretches of possession.
The home side were finally rewarded when Tyson Keam converted in the 32nd minute with a blistering strike from just outside the penalty box that rocketed off the post and in.
UBC should have made it 2-0 just moments later as Michael Michelena stole the ball deep in the TWU territory, however, he fired his effort high and wide.
The second half saw both teams fighting for possession, with TWU's star striker Nathan Pogue, who didn't play in the first half, almost even the score in the 60th minute but his low shot from inside the penalty area just missed.
UBC responded to that play with their best chance of the half, as a cross found Jorge Angel-Mira alone at the far post but his 12-yard strike was parried by Spartans keeper Andrew Fink in the 63rd minute.
UBC kept up the momentum with Keam almost adding a second after a great individual run led to a strike that was deflected by a TWU defender before finding the visitors cross-bar.
"We have been waiting for Tyson to have a bit of a breakout game and I think he did that tonight," said Mosher of the talented left-footed midfielder.
TWU had one last gasp as a long ball into the UBC box fell to Nathan Square-Briggs whose shot was stopped by T-Bird keeper Nikolai Matni and Pogue's effort on the rebound was pushed wide by a diving Jason Gill in the 80th minute.
The win marked UBC's fifth consecutive 1-0 shutout at home to start the season. Matni made five saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season, while Fink made three stops in the loss.
Both teams are done for the weekend and await the results from the Alberta games versus Calgary and Lethbridge later this weekend, as the Golden Bears are just four points behind the BC schools with two games in hand. Next weekend UBC and TWU host Alberta and Saskatchewan with that weekend potentially deciding first place in the conference.
UBC Sports Information Director