Brett Bobier saw a seam and darted in to thread the needle.
The second-year midfielder got open in the crease and wasted no time burying Alan Zhou's short pass to score the only goal of the game which gave the UNBC Timberwolves a 1-0 Canada West men's soccer win Friday night at North Cariboo Field over the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen.
"It was a great ball in and it was just behind me and I was lucky to get a foot on it and it went in," said Bobier, whose marker came 27 minutes into the second half. "We were definitely putting the pressure on them and we had that penalty early in the second half that didn't go in. We didn't get our first win until near the end of last season but this year we have a new attitude that we can compete in this league."
The win improved the T-wolves' record to 1-1-1, while Winnipeg dropped to 1-4-1.
Bobier emerged as the hero, but it wasn't for a lack of trying from UNBC frontliners Zhao, Tofa Fakunle, Cheona Edzerza, and Chris Russell.
The T-wolves had a golden opportunity to break the scoreless deadlock when they were awarded a penalty kick on a hand ball 19 minutes into the second half. Fakunle, UNBC's most dangerous ball hawk on the night, took a low shot that grazed the inside of the goalpost after Edzerza's near-miss that created the foul.
UNBC's speed was a huge factor in the outcome. They got to a lot of loose balls and didn't waste time moving the ball northward against a Wesmen team that showed its physical presence but mostly stuck to the rules.
"There was no doubt in my mind with the young talented ballplayers we have that this could be an exciting season for us," said UNBC head coach Alan Alderson.
"With our aggressive assertive play we had a number of incredibly close scoring chances, enough to get three penalty kicks out of the deal. It was fun to see all different attacking scoring options we have."
Defenders Amedee Cimana and Liam MacPhail and midfielder Tyson Hunter were were standouts on defence for UNBC, and with the game in the balance they stepped up their intensity in the second half and allowed very few good scoring opportunities.
Both teams had their chances in the first half and Ty Venhola of the T-wolves was probably the busier goalie, having to make at least a half-dozen stops, most from long range. Winnipeg forward Kenny Sacramento packed plenty of wallop in his shots and Venhola had trouble corralling one of those howitzers at the 35-minute mark, but dove to smother the rebound before Scott Ansell could pounce.
Fakunle, whose last-minute penalty shot gave the T-wolves a 1-1 tie with powerhouse Alberta two weeks ago, had several quality cracks that either sailed high or wide of the net behind Wesmen 'keeper Tyson Farago. Fakunle was right on target with a low bouncer off the turf four minutes before halftime that forced Farago to make a diving save.
"I thought we dominated the game," said Fakunle. "We knew Winnipeg would be physical and the coaches prepared us well and we came out flying, with chance after chance."
Fakunle gave his coaches a scare in the last minute when he appeared to injure his leg while advancing the ball up the sideline. But it turned out it was just a cramp in his calf muscle and he rolled off the turf to avoid tacking on injury time.
The T-wolves' next game is Sunday at noon when they host the Mount Royal University Cougars.
n The UNBC women, 0-4 so far this season are in Lethbridge today to take on the Pronghorns (0-3-1). The T-wolves visit Calgary on Sunday to face the second-place Dinos (3-0-1).