Braedan Willis, University of Victoria

After earning a Canada West silver medal and finishing 5th at the U SPORTS National Championships in 2017, the University of Victoria Vikes saw their season end much too early in 2018. The Saskatchewan Huskies defeated the Vikes by a score of 2-0 in the Canada West play-in game on Oct. 26 in Calgary, Alta.

Payton Iszak tallied both goals for the Huskies who will now advance to the Canada West quarter finals on Oct. 28 against the Calgary Dinos.

The two teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half, with many of the offensive chances going in favour of the Vikes. Fifth-year Vike Katie Carrothers had the best opportunity after finding space in tight to the net but her shot was stopped by Huskie keeper Jadyn Steinhauer.

“We had those three glorious scoring chances in the first half and not being able to score on any ended up being a turning point in the game,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “If we were able to capitalize on even one of those chances it really could of titled the momentum in our favour.”

The opening 25 minutes of the match saw limited offensive chances from either side, combining for only a total of two shots on goal. The Vikes began to dictate the play for the remainder of the first half. The Vikes best opportunity was a shot from Carrothers close to the goal in the 33rdminute. Victoria enjoyed two more prime scoring opportunities, one from Brea Christie who had her shot blocked and another off the head of Carrothers but Steinhauer was up to the task.

The Huskies had their most dangerous scoring chance come from Olivia Fredrickson during injury time of the first half only to have her shot blocked, keeping the score at 0-0 heading to the break.

Saskatchewan’s Iszak would finally break the deadlock in the 60thminute when a attempted clear by the Vikes bounced off the referee on to the foot of Taneil Gay who place her pass perfectly allowing Iszak to score her first of two on the day.

From there, the Huskies pushed the pace offensively mustering 10 of their total 14 shots in the game in the second half compared to the Vikes five. Victoria keeper Puck Louwes was forced to make a huge save in the 74thminute to keep her team in the game, still down by one goal.

“I have to give credit to Saskatchewan,” said David. “Their players dropped back on defence, making it hard for us to put any balls over the top. They never gave us anytime or space when we had possession of the ball making it tough for us to complete our passes.”

Iszak broke free from the last two Vike defenders in the 83rdminute  and powered her shot past a diving Louwes for her second of the game to give the Huskies 2-0 lead late, crushing any hope of a comeback for the Vikes.

“We decided to play with three defenders in the back after their first goal to try and create some offence,” commented David. “The risk was one I felt we need to take if we wanted to score, unfortunately it ended up costing us.”

Today’s defeat marks the second time in the last three years the Vikes have been eliminated by the Huskies in the Canada West playoffs. Saskatchewan topped Victoria by a score of 1-0 in the 2016 Canada West quarter finals.

SCORING SUMMARY
1          2:         F
SSK:          0         2:         2
VIC:          0         0:         0

GAME MVPs
SSK: #28 Payton Izsak
VIC: #19 Rachel Baird

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