The University of Victoria Vikes men’s field hockey team found success for the second time over the Surrey-based West Coast Kings club. The young Vikes dropped the Kings 3-2 after beating them 4-1 at home earlier in the year.
The Vikes received goals from Jack Hyslop, Connor Martin and Alex Smith, while the team was forced to compete without stand out players Brenden Bissett and Harbir Sidhu. Bissett, who has 40 international caps with Canada’s senior national team, is currently in Cape Town, South Africa on a tour that involves games against Ireland, South Africa, Spain and Belgium. These matches are the start of the senior team’s preparation for the Rio Olympics. Sidhu, a first year on the Vikes, is currently on tour with the Canadian Under 21 team playing test matches against the United States in Chula Vista, Calif.
Despite being without two of their quality offensive performers, the Vikes men came out strong against the West Coast Kings. The visitors dominated in possession through the midfield but struggled to generate any quality scoring chances. In the 10th minute second year Amardeep Sidhufired a ball into the circle which hit the back post and rebounded nicely for Hyslop. The third year faked a shot to draw the keeper and slipped a pass to team mate Smith who lifted the Vikes 1-0.
The Vikes held on to their one-goal advantage entering the break.
In the second half the Vikes came out showing their strong possession game with more intensity and pressure on the West Coast King’s circle. Despite their efforts it was the home side that were able to even up in the 42nd minute. A counter-attack stemming from the King’s 23-meter area resulted in a quick break and eventually a 1-1 score line. The Vikes retaliated quickly as first-year forward Parm Sahota found Martin open in the circle. Martin’s show as saved but the rebound found the stick of Hyslop who rifled the ball into the corner to restore the Vikes’ lead 2-1.
Just five minutes after their second goal the West Coast Kings found a way to tie the game, 2-2, again on a counter-attack play.
For the next 10 minutes the Vikes pressed the Kings hard, earning three penalty corner chances, but were again unable to capitalize. In the 61st minute Martin, wearing the captain’s band for this game, barged down the left side of the circle shaking off several defenders. Martin’s back-hand shot went in off the near post to put Victoria up 3-2.
A composed Vikes line up maintained possession for the remaining minutes to hang on for the 3-2 victory. The win puts the Vikes back ahead of UBC in the standings, setting the stage for a big double-header next weekend. The Thunderbirds will play the Vikes at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Victoria. The Vikes are now 3-7, while the Thunderbirds are 2-5.