Dylan McCrindle scored his first career Canada West goal in the 90th minute to give the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team a 1-1 tie on the road vs. the UBC Thunderbirds.
The T-Birds – tied for the top spot in the CIS national rankings with the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) – came into the game undefeated. But it took them until the 67th minute to solve Cascades goalkeeper Alex Skrzeta. Lucas Reis did the damage, with Connor Guilherme picking up the assist.
The Cascades kept battling, though, and they got the equalizer in the final minute of regulation. Daniel Molendijk flicked the ball on to Kree Byrne, and he headed it off the crossbar. But rookie midfielder McCrindle was johnny-on-the-spot to convert the rebound.
Byrne opened a gash above his eye on the header that led to the goal – head coach Tom Lowndes said it will likely require stitches, a fitting finale for a banged-up team that gutted it out to earn a result on Saturday.
It was just the second game all season where Pacific Division winner UBC (10-0-2, 32 points) failed to earn the maximum three points.
UFV (5-4-3, 18 points) wraps up the regular season in third place in the Pacific, and will hit the road for the first round of the Canada West playoffs. They’ll face the second-place finisher in the Prairie Division – either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Calgary Dinos, pending the outcome of Sunday’s games.
“We kind of battled through tonight,” Lowndes said. “We had a couple injuries – we’re the walking wounded a little bit right now. But we kept battling and kept believing. We can build on this going into the playoffs.
“For us, the playoffs are huge. We expect to make the playoffs now – it’s the minimum. This year, it’s our chance to kick on and look to make some waves. What we’ve done well in fits and spurts, can we do it for two or three games and really do something?”