Play­off spot still within UNBC’s reach

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff tclarke@pgc­i­t­i­

Play­offs are still a pos­si­bil­ity for the UNBC Tim­ber­wolves, but they will need a lit­tle help from their friends in the U Sports men’s soc­cer Canada West con­fer­ence.

The T-wolves are in a must-win sit­u­a­tion in their sea­son-end­ing two-game se­ries to­day and Satur­day against the Fraser Val­ley Cas­cades at North Cari­boo fields.

The fifth-place Tim­ber­wolves (4-5-5) need two vic­to­ries against the sev­enth-place Cas­cades (4-6-2) to re­main in the hunt for their first-ever Canada West play­off spot and even then will need teams ahead of them in the stand­ings to lose their games this and next week­end.

The T-wolves have to hope the fourth-place Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­sity Wolf­Pack (4-2-5) loses tonight at UBC and Satur­day at Vic­to­ria, then have the Kam­loops-based Wolf­Pack lose its fi­nal two games next week­end – a home-and-home se­ries with the UBC Okana­gan Heat.

UNBC also has a shot at catch­ing the Trin­ity West­ern Spartans (6-4-4, third in the Pa­cific Di­vi­sion). The Spartans have a bye this week­end and fin­ish off their reg­u­lar sched­ule next week­end at UBC and Vic­to­ria.

“We don’t con­trol our des­tiny but we def­i­nitely con­trol putting our­selves in a very good spot,” said T-wolves head coach Steve Si­mon­son. “We could fin­ish any­where from sec­ond place to the bot­tom and that’s a credit to the di­vi­sion that we’re play­ing in that you come into the fi­nal two week­ends and it’s that tight. We have to find a way to take care of our end of things this week­end and hope for the best.”

The T-wolves are com­ing off a pair of score­less draws last week­end in Kelowna against the sec­ond­place Heat (5-3-3), who reeled off their sixth-straight shutout Sun­day. It’s math­e­mat­i­cally pos­si­ble, although un­likely, for UNBC to fend off the Heat for sec­ond place as well.

Tonight, the T-wolves will be with­out fifth-year for­ward Tofa Fakunle, who will serve a one-game sus­pen­sion for get­ting his third yel­low card of the sea­son Sun­day in Kelowna. On a team that’s strug­gled to score this sea­son, he ranks fourth in team scor­ing with two goals and four as­sists in 14 games.

“It’s the goals that eluded us that stopped us from get­ting wins,” said Si­mon­son. “We lost 1-0 to Leth­bridge and Mount Royal. If we score we win those and are sit­ting in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion. What we know is if we don’t score this week­end we’re in trou­ble, so we have to make that a pri­or­ity.”

Game time tonight is 5 p.m. Satur­day’s game is also sched­uled for a 5 p.m. start.

The UNBC women (2-7-1) are out of the play­off pic­ture, sit­ting sev­enth in the eight-team Pa­cific Di­vi­sion stand­ings, com­ing off a pair of 1-0 losses to MacEwan last week­end in Ed­mon­ton. The T-wolves will take the field tonight in Win­nipeg against the Man­i­toba Bisons, then will take on the Win­nipeg Wes­men Satur­day night.

The T-wolves fin­ish their sixth Canada West sea­son on the road next week­end with games against Thomp­son Rivers in Kam­loops and the fol­low­ing night in Kelowna against UBC Okana­gan.

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