After a back-and-forth saga at Wright Field last weekend against the United Brothers, the T-Birds seem to be finally settling into the perks of home field advantage as they defeated the Vancouver Hawks 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The 'Birds got the goal-scoring going early, with captain Gordon Johnston sending a penalty stroke into the top right corner of the Hawks net just 10 minutes into the match.
The skipper would double his tally for the afternoon just five minutes later. Taking the ball deep into the Hawks’ end of the field, Johnston rocketed the ball on a backhanded shot up past Vancouver’s defence and keeper into, again, the top right hand corner of the net. His goal, a beauty from close range, stretched the home team’s lead to 2-0 before the Hawks had even had a chance to settle into the game.
UBC’s lead would be upped even further with a tip-in by Fin Boothroyd with 14 minutes left in the first half. By the half-time whistle, the 'Birds would have a comfortable 3-0 lead over the visitors.
The second half turned out to be a different story, though, as the Hawks worked towards a huge upset. Scoring two goals in eight minutes towards the middle of the half, Vancouver looked to be on track to catch up to UBC’s trio of goals.
The 'Birds buckled down in response, putting in a solid defensive performance to keep the visitors at bay. As the clock slowly rolled closer to the imminent game end, the Hawks pulled out all the stops in hopes of drawing back to even — they pulled their goalie.
With an extra man on the pitch, their gutsy goalkeeping move looked to be paying off as they spent the final five minutes of the match mostly in the Thunderbirds’ half. Even with the attacking onslaught from Vancouver, UBC stood firm in their own end, keeping the circle clear of any threatening shots and making use of any time spent in the visitor’s half of the field. There were lots of lofted balls downfield alongside lots of defending from front to back.
The 'Birds’ work paid off as the final whistle rang out across Wright Field. Final score: 3-2 in favour of UBC. With that, the Thunderbirds move to 3-1-1 in the Vancouver Men’s Field Hockey League.
Next week, the team hosts Surrey Lions FHC at Wright Field. The match up starts at noon on Saturday.