Gideon Hill, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – Kristian Yli-Hietanen scored four goals to lead the UBC Thunderbirds men's soccer team to a 7-0 shutout of the visiting Northern BC Timberwolves Sunday afternoon in Vancouver.
Yli-Hietanen is the second T-Bird since 2013 to find the net four times in a single game. Niall Cousens achieved the same feat on Nov. 3, 2013 in the Canada West championship game against Saskatchewan, netting four goals in the first 30 minutes of the contest.
After a 1-1 draw between the teams Friday night, UBC came out flying in this one, scoring three goals inside the opening 17 minutes of play, and six in the first half.
UNBC was a tired team, as Sunday's contest was the its fourth in seven days. The T-Wolves beat Calgary in Prince George, B.C., last Sunday 1-0, and then won 2-1 in Victoria on Thursday in a game that was rescheduled from August because of wildfires, before travelling to Vancouver for the series at UBC.
The frustration of only scoring a single goal on Friday motivated UBC, with the T-Birds keeping most of the ball through the first 10 minutes. That led to the opening goal in the 11th minute off the foot of Thomas Gardner, his fifth tally in his last five games. His beautiful strike past the outstretched arm of UNBC goalkeeper Rob Goodey and into the bottom right corner from 20 yards out go the afternoon started for the T-Birds, with more forthcoming.
Defender Connor Guilherme doubled UBC's advantage in the 13th, heading the ball into the Timberwolves net off a corner, following a couple deflections for a 2-0 lead.
Before UNBC could react, the T-Birds would score another through Yli-Hietanen recording his second of the year in the 16th minute after he was played through by Mackenzie Cole.
Directly after the third goal by the home squad, the Timberwolves got together for a brief team meeting, trying to tighten up their backline and attempt to go forward trying to create something to get back into the game. This resulted in some good possession by the team from Northern BC, progressing well down the left side going forward, but were unable to threaten UBC 'keeper Jason Roberts.
UBC would get another three goals in quick succession, with Zach Verhoven starting it off, wonderfully placing the ball into the UNBC net after a good individual play in the 32nd minute, going across body on Goodey.
Then two minutes later, Yli-Hietanen would get his second of the afternoon, off a nice through ball by Gardner. The second-year Thunderbird player was not done there, scoring his third of the day and his team's sixth goal in the 35th on a well-placed strike top corner.
UBC head coach Mike Mosher was asked about his team's difference in play between Friday and Sunday's first half.
"Greater conviction and urgency from the beginning, and once that first goal went in, it changed the game," he replied.
On what was said prior to the game to motivate the team, "Whenever we score goals in the first half, it always changes the game for the other team, so we wanted to get off to an early start."
The Timberwolves did well in the second half, creating a great chance on a quick foray forward down the UBC wing. Fourth-year forward Matt Jubinville got on the end of a ball from a Timberwolves teammate, with his shot flashing just wide right of UBC goalkeeper Chris Hansen-Barkun, who came into the game at halftime to see his first action as a T-Bird. It was one of two shots for Jubinville in the match, tied for the team lead with defender Cody Gysbers.
The hosts got their only goal of the second half in the 76th minute off the head of Yli-Hietanen for his fourth of the game, collecting a good cross from Kerman Pannu and directing it into the visitors' net.
UNBC almost found their first goal in the 78th, as second half sub Pierre Barrafranca fired a shot from distance that took a heavy deflection, but was well saved by Hansen-Barkun.
After a four-goal performance from Yli-Hietanen, Mosher spoke about what his striker brought to the game in this one.
"He did what we asked him, he was in the spots where strikers score goals, having another player next to him helped our teams dynamic as well."
UBC finished with more corner kicks (17) than shots (16), and had eight corners in a row during a four-minute span in the second half.
Goodey and Scott Brown each recorded a save in the UNBC net on Sunday.
UBC's six first-half goals is tied for the most in a Canada West matchup since the statistic was first officially recorded by the league in 2006.
The Thunderbirds next game is this Thursday against the Victoria Vikes in their first Legends Cup battle this year.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves are on the road once again, taking on the Thompson Rivers WolfPack next Saturday in Kamloops, B.C., with the action at Hillside Stadium beginning at 1 p.m.
PHOTO: Wilson Wong/UBC Thunderbirds