Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- On a miserable snowy and cold Saturday afternoon at the SAIT campus, the visiting conference leader Alberta Golden Bear picked up a 4-0 decision against Mount Royal.
Back-to-back hat-trick performance from Easton Ongaro carried his Golden Bear side to their third consecutive win.
Both schools played to a stalemate leading up to injury time of the first half where Ajeej Sarkaria broke the deadlock. Off the ensuing Alberta corner kick, an MRU defender attempted to volley the ball out of danger but made a poor connection and had the ball spiral up and behind him. The ball floated to the far post for a waiting Sarkaria who headed the ball in to put up his Golden Bear side at 1-0 heading into halftime.
MRU much like the first 45, began play on the front foot but Alberta again, landed the first blow of the half. Ongaro doubled the Golden Bear lead in the 63rd in brilliant fashion. Receiving the ball in tight space, Ongaro danced past one Cougar defender at a time, inching closer to the net before sliding the shot past MRU keeper Kyran Valley in the six-yard box.
The Cougars almost responded back immediately after the kick-off as Jake Vickers had the best MRU chance of the half. Vickers was sent in one-on-one with goalkeeper Connor James but was rejected by the leg of the Golden Bear net-minder. James handled any other threats to earn his eighth clean sheet of the season.
Alberta found the net for the third time in the 77th minute from a dynamite free-kick.
Ongaro, coming off a brace and hat-trick performances in his past two matches, whipped the ball into the far side of the net for his then second goal.
In the 86th, Ongaro capped off his hat-trick for his league-tying 12th goal of the season. Again, flaunting a bit of skill and dribbling moves before slotting the ball opposite of Valley to end the game at 4-0.
This was a win the Cougars could've used as the Canada West playoff picture is going to be an all-out war, something MRU bench boss Ryan Gyaki recognizes.
He comments, "Today you win, you may be second or be in last place which is a real possibility so it's a very exciting league this year."
MRU host MacEwen Saturday afternoon back at SAIT field at 1:30 while Alberta travel down the road to square off against the Calgary Dinos