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Timberwolves get start they wanted to soccer season

The University of Northern BC Timberwolves are off to the start they wanted in the Canada West season, topping the visiting Thompson Rivers Wolfpack 2-1 on Sunday here in Prince George.

A day after playing to a 1-1 draw in the Canada West season-opener, the Wolfpack came out fast and furious in the rematch.  The visitors dictated play through 20 minutes, but it was the Timberwolves who drew first blood.

Fifth-year Tofa Fakunle worked the ball to Stuart Rowlands, who blasted it by TRO goalkeeper Lubomir Magdolin in the 22nd minute.

“I have had quite a bit of trouble finishing actually,” said Rowlands. “Counting the first three weeks of pre-season this was my first goal in a Canada West game, but for now I am pretty happy with it and can’t complain.”

Just 11 minutes later, TRU answered, as Mitchell Popadynetz potted his second goal of the weekend for the Wolfpack, beating Vehhola from 20 yards out.

The Wolfpack continued to hem the T-Wolves deep in their zone, and nearly took the lead on a golden opportunity from Finlay McPhie, but the big defensive back ripped it wide of the goal.

Despite not controlling the ballas much as the Wolfpack, UNBC took the lead on a header by 2nd-year Cody Gysbers. A kick from Daniel Goodey in the 62nd minute found Gysbers, who put it by Magdolin to give the Timberwolves the 2-1 advantage.

Magdolen spoke postgame about the battle between himself and TWolves keeper Ty Venhola.

“It’s a lot of pressure and Venhola played unbelievable. He made a few good stops there and I made a few good stops but that’s just the game. The pressure is there and that is how it goes.”

Over the final twenty minutes, the Wolfpack worked the ball in deep and looked to equalize, but Venhola continued to come up with timely saves.

Anatoli Leveille had the best chance for the visitors in the 83rd minute, but was robbed by a sprawling Venhola.

Timberwolves head coach Steve Simonson was noticeably vocal on the sideline, and said the reason for that was clear.

“Our players weren’t great today. We looked tired and unconfident, so I felt I had to give them more direction. Just to will them over the line, as we were up against it for a big part of that game.”

UNBC improves to 1-0-1, while the Wolfpack drop to 1-1-0 on the young season. The Timberwolves will head on the road next, to play the Trinity Western Spartans, September 1 and 2.


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