Kristian Yli-Hietanen added his fifth and sixth goals in his last two outings for the Pacific Division leading T-Birds who improved to 9-0-2 while extending their unbeaten streak to an impressive 11 consecutive games to begin the campaign while the Vikes fell to 3-5-3 on the season.
It didn’t take long for the ‘Birds to put their stamp on the latest Legends Cup rivalry series contest as the hosts opened the scoring just 53 seconds after kicking off. Third-year forward Zach Verhoven showed his impressive playmaking ability by surging down the left channel into the UVic box before cutting a pass against the grain for Yli-Heitanen’s left footed one touch finish from eight yards out and an early 1-0 advantage.
After controlling most of the possession following the opening marker it was UBC who gave way to UVic for some build up and opportunities beginning in the 22nd minute with forward Matteo Ventura’sleft footed curling cross from the right flank that landed in a dangerous area of the T-Birds box. However, UBC goalkeeper Jason Roberts was there to coral the ball nine yards off his line before any Vikes players got on the end of it.
In the 27th minute Verhoven displayed more distribution skills sending a well-placed left footed cross in from the right flank that Yli-Hietanen re-directed with his head from just four yards out at the far post past UVic goalie Jas Lally and a 2-0 lead heading into half time.
Similar to the first half it didn’t take long for UBC to strike after the break as they added to their lead in minute 51 with fourth-year midfielder Sean Einarsson’s tally. Collecting a Riley Pang pass over the top bringing it down off his chest from 10 yards before firing the ball into the right corner. Five minutes later it was midfielder Rylan Sangha giving the ‘Birds a 4-0 lead after taking down a Nick Fussell cross and dribbling past a couple defenders and placing it in the bottom right corner.
UBC would complete their scoring with Fussell adding a goal of his own connecting on a volley in the 72nd minute to secure the 5-0 victory.
“Absolutely not,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher when asked if his team could have asked for a better start. “I think that was the difference between our two games last weekend, a positive start and if our group doesn’t know the value of a positive start after our last game then they don’t know anything. So, credit to our guys, a goal in the first minute and that just sends you on your way.”
Mosher was then asked about the scoring efficiency of Yli-Hietanen who’s taking advantage of a greater opportunity for minutes.
“You know what, this is as deep a team as I have ever had in over 20 years,” continued Mosher. Kristian has received an opportunity and he’s made the most of it with six goals in two games which is wonderful, good for him as he’s certainly in a rhythm.”
For his part, Yli-Hietanen is enjoying the current groove he’s in.
“Ya everything is going well, we’re playing well as a team and I’m putting the goals in with the guys setting me up so it’s nice,” added the fourth-year forward. “I haven’t received as much playing time as I would like but now that I am I’m scoring and it feels great to help the squad.”
The teams will enjoy a day between games before meeting again on Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff at Centennial Stasium in Victoria for the second game of this home and home Legends Cup rivalry series.