Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY, AB - Mount Royal Cougars squared off against University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat on a warm Sunday afternoon, playing to a 0-0 draw.
Mount Royal's Kyran Valley and UBCO's Mitch McCaw both got their third clean sheets on the season thus far.
Cougar fullback Yusuph Kalenga had the first major chance of the game. The Cougars defensive anchor had a hit in the middle of the Heat's half following a foul call, forcing a parry over the net from Heat fifth-year senior McCaw.
Minutes on, Heat Shaun Pilcher blew a tire just inside his own half allowing for Justin Anderson-Louch to turn on the jets and charge towards the goal with a trailing defensive line on his tail. His run, however, was tracked back by the desperate UBCO defence line that cleared the ball out of danger.
A back and forth affair saw both sides take a 0-0 score into halftime as neither side created any real threats to phase the other.
Cougars started the second period on the front foot, creating a momentum swing that lead to the closest chance of the game. Justin Anderson-Louch found an open Orest Ndabeneze in the middle of the Heat defensive but the low shot was blocked by an attentive McCaw.Moments later Louch created space for himself and pulled a shot just outside of the box and rang the post; that was the best chance for the Cougars all game.
The match's turning point came later in the second half when the Cougars caught a match-deciding break. Heat defender Aaron Mulama made a run down the Cougar line forcing his way into the box and sliding a pass to Wyatt Gilbert. Leaving nothing but a hopeless gaze from the MRU goalkeeper, Gilbert connected boot-to-ball but hit the wrong side of it and the shot sliced wide of the open net.
Mount Royal's midfielder Jake Vickers took matters into his own hand on the next play. Vickers, who was buzzing around the Heat the defence throughout the game, was running end-to-end after stopping a UBCO attack and challenged McCaw. Ultimately the low shot was stopped by McCaw.
Inside the final ten minutes, Brendan Canejo teed up a shot from the corner of the box but the powerful strike but rose over the crossbar.
In the dying couple of minutes, midfielder Taylor Piche had the Heat's best chance of the half.
Piche headed the ball of a set piece deep in Cougar territory but the attempt sailed over the net.
The match ended with a score line of 0-0.
Mount Royal has a scheduled home-and-home series against the University of Calgary Dinos for the first set of Crowchild Classic games in the men's soccer season on October 7th with kickoff ready for 2:15 pm MST.
UBCO travels back home to host Trinity Western on September 30th with kickoff scheduled for 3:00 pm PDT.