VANCOUVER – For the second time this weekend, the UBC Thunderbirds (7-1-3) held a multi-goal lead at the half, but the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat (6-5-3) scored twice early in the second to earn a 2-2 draw Sunday afternoon at Thunderbird Stadium.
A two-goal first-half deficit to the top team in the conference was quickly erased by the 'Y and Y boys' as Jacob York and Spencer Young both scored early in the second to earn the all-important road draw.
With just two matches left to play in the regular season, the Heat needed to earn the point in the table prior to heading into an all-important Presidents' Cup matchup with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack slated for this weekend. With playoff positions decided by winning percentage, the draw puts UBCO's percentage at .500 good for the fourth and final postseason spot.
It was a challenging first 25 minutes for the home team as the Heat came at them with pace and possession, but a well organized UBC backline kept the visitors off the scoresheet.
The 'Birds opened the scoring in the 29th minute when a Victory Shumbusho shot was saved by UBCO keeper Nicholas Reitsma. His parried clearance, however, found the foot of Sean Einarsson who played a picture-perfect ball over the top of a pair of Heat defenders right to the head of Shumbusho who made no mistake depositing the ball into the net for his sixth of the season.
UBC would soon double their lead as Shumbusho was the recipient of another great team play. Mackenzie Cole found Einarsson who once again pulled the strings as he found Shumbusho, whose left-footed shot found the back of the net for his second of the game and a 2-0 T-Birds lead in the 35th minute.
UBCO came out the better team in the second half, and in the 51st minute, it showed as they got back into the game through rookie Jacob York. A loose ball inside the UBC half was recovered by York, and his speculative left-footed strike from distance beat Jason Roberts to make it 2-1.
Just four minutes later, another beautiful strike from distance gave the visitors the equalizer. The ball popped off a Thunderbirds player and nestled nicely to the chest of Heat defender Spencer Young from way out, who let go of a volleyed shot that Roberts was only able to get a piece of.
UBC threw some subs on late in the match looking for the winner but the points would be shared on a chilly day.
The Heat have just two games remaining in their regular season as they battle the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in a home-and-home set starting in Kelowna on Thursday, October 10th.
UBC will now prepare for a Legends Cup home-and-home with the Vikes starting Thursday night in Victoria before hosting the rematch Saturday afternoon.
~ With notes from Gideon Hill, UBC Thunderbirds