SASKATOON – A thrilling conclusion to the 2019 Canada West women's soccer regular season saw the Saskatchewan Huskies and Alberta Pandas fight to a 2-2 finish in Saskatoon on Sunday.
Brenna Mattiello and Aly Parth scored for the visitors, who led 1-0 and 2-1 in the contest. Maya Gabruch and Payton Izsak responded for Saskatchewan to ensure their squad recorded at least a point for the eighth-straight game.
The result clarifies things in a tight playoff race.
Saskatchewan finishes second in the Prairie Division with a record of 8-2-4 and are set to host a pair of post-season games. First the third place team from the Pacific Division will play the six seed from the Prairie Division, with the Huskies taking on the winner of that game next Sunday, Oct. 27 inside Nutrien Park.
Alberta meanwhile finishes fourth in the division with a record of 6-2-6. They will travel to Langley, B.C. and take on the fifth seed from the Pacific with the hopes of earning the chance to take down the Trinity Western Spartans.
A first half that saw the teams testing each other throughout was broken wide open in the 43rd minute.
Parth played in a ball to Kiera Fujimoto and while her effort hit the post, Mattiello was in the right spot at the right time bury the rebound.
The Pandas nearly doubled their lead right before half time but a fantastic stop from Jadyn Steinhauer off a head from Morgan Corbett kept the game 1-0 at halftime.
Saskatchewan ramped up the pressure in the second half and after numerous near-misses were rewarded for their efforts in the 52nd minute.
A goal-mouth scramble saw the ball pop out to Taneil Gay and the forward slid the ball to a wide-open Gabruch who made no mistake to score her ninth of the season. With the tally Gabruch moves into a tie for third for most goals in a season in Huskie history.
The visitors grabbed the lead back with just five minutes left to play.
A great run by Nicole Palladino resulted in a free-kick just outside the Huskies' 18-yard box. Parth stepped up and sent in a powerful strike that deflected off a Huskies' defender and past a helpless Steinhauer.
Alberta appeared well on their way to victory until Izsak struck with just seconds left on the clock.
A nice pass from Jackson Wiegers sprung Maya Gabruch, and the Huskies' leading goal-scorer turned provider, sending the ball over to Izsak who tied the game at 2-2 with nearly the last kick of the match.