Playoff spot still within UNBC’s reach
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.