VANCOUVER - In the midst of a grinding affair the UBC Thunderbirds perseverance payed of with a late tally to get past the visiting Alberta Golden Bears 1-0 in Canada West quarter-final playoff action on a windy Friday evening at Thunderbird Stadium.
T-Birds defender Jordan Haynes delivered a left footed corner kick that went untouched and curled in just in front of the back post in the 76th minute was the difference in propelling UBC to host final four post-season play next weekend.
Alberta replied with a great chance of their own in the 25th, as midfielder David Chung received a ball inside the UBC half and went at the T-Birds backline but sent his shot wide to the right of goalkeeper Jason Roberts.
Just before half time on one of many long throw ins by UBC on the evening Mackenzie Cole gathered the ball and put a shot on frame that was cleared off the line, the ball came back to him a second time, but it was blocked.
In the 56th minute, UBC midfielder Thomas Gardner unleashed a thunderbolt strike from 23 yards on target but Alberta goalkeeper Liam Collens made an acrobatic save to find it through traffic and turn it aside. Sean Einarsson was there for the rebound, but his shot was well blocked by a collection of Golden Bears defenders.
In the 76th minute, the home side were not to be denied. Jordan Haynes delivered a high floating ball towards the Alberta 18-yard-box, that went past everybody and curled inside the back post to give the hosts a 1-0 lead they wouldn’t look back from.
The Golden Bears were forced to go at UBC in the late going, but the stingy Thunderbirds team shut down any Alberta forays going forward.
With the victory UBC advances to host the Final Four, for a third straight season, winning the previous two in thrilling fashion. The T-Birds will play the winner of Saturday night’s quarterfinal between UVic and the Saskatchewan Huskies.