With Andrew Peat leading the charge, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team rallied for an impressive 3-1 win over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday evening.
On a drizzly evening at MRC Sports Complex, rookie forward Peat notched his first multi-goal effort as a Cascade, helping UFV erase an early 1-0 deficit. The red-hot Gurmaan Jhaj also hit the scoresheet, extending his goal-scoring streak to six games and expanding his lead in the Canada West scoring race with his 10th of the campaign.
Cascades goalkeeper David Hicks registered one save en route to his fifth win of the season, and UFV improved to 6-2-1, good for second in the Pacific Division.
Thomas Lantmeeters, on a penalty kick in the 10th minute, scored the lone goal of the night for the WolfPack, who are seventh in the Pacific at 2-6-2.
“There’s a great sense of belief in this team,” said Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes, whose squad completed a six-point weekend on the heels of Friday’s 5-1 win over UBC Okanagan. “They’re willing to work hard for each other, and they’re a really good group. They just enjoy being around each other, and I think that’s played into a lot of it. We’re a tough team play against, and they enjoy coming out every single weekend and putting their bodies on the line and battling for each other for 90 minutes. When you have a team like that, you’re always going to have a chance of success, and it’s great to see them have that so far.
“The first 20 minutes of the game we were poor – we were second-best, and they caused us some problems. But we reacted really, really well. We showed signs of a mature team, when we don’t have that much maturity in terms of age. That was really pleasing to see.”
The WolfPack broke the ice early, as the Cascades were victimized by an unlucky bounce. On a TRU cross into the box, UFV centre back Sahib Sidhu tried to clear the ball, but it struck teammate Kyle Gibson in the hand and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Lantmeeters stepped up and sent a low shot into the bottom right corner.
The Cascades drew even in the 37th minute. Ryan Donald made an overlapping run to take a feed from Brady Weir and cut the ball back into the box, where a scramble ensued. The ball ultimately landed at Peat’s feet, and he blasted a rising shot to level the score.
UFV grabbed its first lead in the 53rd. Parman Minhas got his head on the end on the end of Anthony Vega’s free kick, and TRU keeper Alex Ram tried to tip the ball over the crossbar. Instead, it glanced off the bar and fell to Jhaj, who headed it into the wide-open net. The fourth-year forward from Aldergrove, B.C. extended his UFV single-season record for goals, which he’d established on Friday with a two-goal effort.
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Charandeep Rangi set up Peat for his second of the night in the 68th, sending a picture-perfect through ball down the left wing. The Port Coquitlam, B.C. product caught up to it and from a tight angle, launched a clinical strike inside the far post for his third of the year.
TRU’s comeback effort hit a snag in the 78th minute when Khalifa Fanne was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.
“I thought Peat did really well tonight on both sides of the ball,” enthused Lowndes, whose team outshot the WolfPack 11-5. “He’s a goal-scorer, and he’s been fighting that a little bit lately. So to see him score two goals which he fully deserved was excellent to see, and I think he’s got a bright future.”
Up next for the Cascades is a home-and-home with local rival Trinity Western – next Friday on TWU’s Langley campus, and Sunday at MRC Sports Complex.