Tanner Michalenko, Saskatchewan Sports Information Student Assistant
SASKATOON – A second half goal was all the Mount Royal University Cougars needed to lift the 1-0 over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for their first win of the 2017 Canada West men's soccer season on Field 7 in PotashCorp Park in Saskatoon on Thursday.
Fourth-year Cougar defender Jake Vickers checked into the match in the 61st minute and found his way on the scoresheet just six minutes later. Vickers buried his first of the year after receiving a touch from teammate Yusuph Kalenga just outside of the box in the 67th minute. Vickers' strike got past the sprawling Huskie goalkeeper, Patrick Pranger.
The first half saw the Huskies come close to taking a lead going into halftime. In the 42nd minute, Huskies striker Mohammed Omar split a couple of Cougar defenders before sending a strike just off of the cross bar behind Cougar keeper Kyran Valley. Third-year midfielder Gabriel Buatois took the ensuing Huskies corner kick as the Huskies looked to capitalize on the opportunity before the half was over. However, Valley kept the score sheet clean making a couple of critical stops before the half came to a close.
Mount Royal's best chance of the first 45 minutes was on a rebound off of Pranger's hands after a Cougars' strike. The rebound found its way to Kylan Johnson who found the back of the net but the play was called offside.
Coming out of the half, Mount Royal's collective defensive play made it difficult for the Huskies to generate any quality scoring chances that they previously saw in the first half.
Valley earned the clean sheet for the Cougars, making four saves in the shutout, while Pranger finished the match with three saves.
The Cougars (1-2-0) travel to Lethbridge to take on the Pronghorns on Saturday. While the Huskies (3-2-0) stay at home to play the Calgary Dinos. Match begins on Saturday at 2 p.m. on Field 7 in PotashCorp Park.