PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - After their previous three meetings all ended in scoreless draws, both the UNBC Timberwolves and UBC Okanagan Heat knew offense would be tough to come by.
One goal would likely be enough offense, and it proved to be, as the Heat were edged by the TWolves 1-nil on Sunday, October 14, 2018 in Prince George.
When the final whistle blew, the Timberwolves' victory meant their record improved to 5-3-5, while the Heat dropped to 2-7-5 on the season.
The loss eliminates the Heat from post season contention but they return to Kelowna for two special home matches to close out the year.
On Saturday at 1 p.m. the Heat will play in the home portion of the UBC derby, against the Thunderbirds, that will also be a feature event in the upcoming first ever UBC Okanagan homecoming. Read More.
The Timberwolves, playing their final home game of the season, came out with more energy than Saturday's clash. In the early going, the home side had the better chances, the best coming off the head of Gordon Hall, who nearly converted a Francesco Bartolillo corner kick inside the near post.
The two sides traded mild opportunities for most of the half, until minute 42, when a set piece paid off for UNBC. Again, it was Bartolillo sending a corner into the box, where it found the foot of Matt Jubinville. The Prince George native, playing the final home game of his career, tapped it in for his first of the season, giving the Timberwolves a 1-nil lead heading into halftime.
"UBCO is always so organized," said UNBC midfielder Owen Stewart. "They have a good midfield and a good back line, and they keep it tight. It is difficult to get those goals, and really a patience thing. We did that, and when the moment came, Juby put it away."
Neither coach made any substitutions at half, both hoping to earn the edge with their starting lineups. In the 62nd minute, the Heat came within inches of getting on the board and knotting the game. A corner kick from Jimmy Steel led to a scramble in the TWolves box. Luke Warketin put one past keeper Rob Goodey, but Joel Watson, standing on the goal line, was able to head it away. As UBCO protested, they nearly scored seconds later, but a Steel shot from ten yards out was blocked by Cody Gysbers, before being sent out of harm's way.
"We need to find a way to capitalize," said Heat centreback Hamish Walde. "In these two games, we created a lot more chances than we have all season. If we can keep that going the rest of this season, and into next season, it will show. All it takes is a couple more bounces, and a couple more finishes."
The TWolves were able to sit in late in the game, knowing three points would give them a massive chance at qualifying for the Canada West playoffs. The Heat did apply some pressure, including opportunities for Corbun Beauchemin, and Hamish Walde, but they were unable to convert.
"It was a stalemate, all game long," said Walde postgame. "We created chances, they created chances. They finished the one they had, and we couldn't convert on ours."
~ With notes from Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics