Three goals and one assist from Leighton Johnson allowed the Trinity Western University Spartans to cruise to a 5-1 victory over the UVic Vikes on Aug. 25 at UVic, in what was both teams first game of the 2017 Canada West season.

“I give them credit, they scored some good goals no question about it,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “We gave two goals away in the first seven minutes and that didn’t help our confidence at all.”

Just over one minute into the game the Spartans set the tone for how the evening would go when a loose ball at the edge of the UVic box was pounced on by Jacob Low, who made no mistake in powering the ball past Jasdeep Lally in net for the Vikes.

Just six minutes later the Spartans would double their lead when Johnson scored the first of his three goals on the night.

“It was a great start, scoring two goals that early just gives you tons of confidence and we took the two chances that we had which was huge,” said Spartans head coach Mike Shearon.

The Vikes fought their way back into the game after surrendering the two early goals however, and their persistent pressure paid off in the 29th minute of play when a powerful run from third-year Vike Isaac Koch ended with an easy tap-in for Tarnvir Bhandal.

In the 37th minute of play the Vikes came inches from changing the course of the game.

A long ball from the back found Koch in full stride and with only the Spartans goalie left to beat, Koch rolled the ball just past the far post.

The momentum of the game shifted for good right before halftime.

A cross in from Johnson found the head of Cody Fransen in the middle of the eighteen-yard box and a calm finish from Fransen put to rest any chance of a Vikes comeback.

“We missed one just before halftime and then they came right back to score and that was a problem for us,” said Wilson.

Johnson added another goal from the penalty spot in the 58th minute before completing his hat trick in the 65th with yet another strong finish.

“Leighton Johnson has finally put in a performance in a game that he has shown in training,” said Shearon. “I can’t be more happy for the kid, he’s done a great job of putting in the work this summer and we just saw the fruits of his labour.”

One of the major differences between the teams was the ability to keep calm in front of the net. UVic ended up firing more shots on goal than the Spartans did but Trinity Western was relentless in making almost every goal-scoring opportunity they had count.

“It’s normally not that way for us, we talked a lot about improving on that and tonight it was just our night,” said Shearon of his team’s cool finishing.

Both of these teams are back in action tomorrow night and for the Vikes it will be a different line up that takes to the field.

“Disappointing start to our season for sure and this game was a bit of an eye-opener for some of our guys,” said Wilson. “We are going to change our line up, we have twenty players that we can rely on and we will use them.”

UVic will remain at home to take on the Fraser Valley Cascades in a game that will start at 7:15 p.m., on Field 4 at UVic.

The Spartans meanwhile will travel to Vancouver where they will play the UBC T-Birds. That game gets underway at 6:30 p.m.

Both games can be watched live on Canada West TV

SCORING                          1     2     FINAL
Victoria (0-1-0)                   1     0      1
TWU   (1-0-0)                     3      2      5

Victoria: #17 Mackenzie Rigg
UNBC: #8 Leighton Johnson

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