© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News
The Victoria Highlanders hosted the Kitsap Pumas at Centennial Stadium Sunday in hot conditions, with field temperatures hovering near 30 degrees.
The Highlanders defeated the Pumas 4-1 despite spending the majority of the game in their own end.
The Pumas opened the scoring early on a soft goal, but Highlanders’ goaltender Brandon Watson shut the door the rest of the way. It appeared, by the defensive play of the Highlanders and their sharp execution on offense, that the only ingredient missing from their game is to move the ball out past centre with possession.
“We have a good core of guys at the back end and we recently improved the defense and as you can see we have strong play up front, we just need to learn to link between our forwards and defense,” Said Riley O’Neill after the game.
The Highlanders made the most of the few opportunities that they could muster with Cam Hundal making dangerous forays deep on the left side and Ryan Dhillon converting two good opportunities late, to put the game away.
In regards to the zone time discrepancy, Dhillon said, “with our solid back end we are good to go, because we have lots of threats up front.”
Coach Dave Dews said of Dhillon and his two goals, “I knew we had pace sitting on the bench and I said to him, “you will be getting in at some point, so make an impact,” and of course he did scoring those two goals late.”
O’Neill playing in his first game back admitted that his fitness is not there just yet. He ended up playing a solid, but controlled 30 minutes. “Riley is a stabilizing force. He keeps it simple and he plays calm. He calms the players around him too. I asked him, “how many minutes, you got,” and he said, “30-minutes of good effort, but not much more,” so at 30 minutes we popped him in and he made some good steady plays,” added Dews.
The Highlanders next play June 10 and June 12 in Calgary against the Foothills FC, location to be determined. The next home game for the Highlanders will take place Saturday, June 25 at Centennial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.