The UNBC Timberwolves have had two weeks to think about the most important minute of their brief history in the CIS
What happened in that minute of extra time, a penalty-kick goal off the right boot of rookie striker Tofa Fakunle sent rumbles throughout the Canada West Conference.
How was it that the upstart Timberwolves, a team in only its second season playing in Canada's top university league, were able to tie the powerful Alberta Golden Bears, who came to Prince George holding the No. 3 CIS ranking? So far, that's the only blemish on the Bears' 2-0-1 record.
Fakunle, a 17-year-old UNBC psychology major, says it had everything to do with gaining confidence as that Sept. 8 game progressed that his team could compete on a level playing field with a perennial CIS medal contender. The T-wolves (0-1-1) intend to build on those gains when they host the Winnipeg Wesmen (1-3-1) tonight ( 7 p.m.) at North Cariboo Field.
"We proved when we tied Alberta [1-1] we can play with the best teams, I thought we were unfortunate not to beat them," said Fakanle. "It just shows how determined our players are. We just have a good foundation the coaches built on and people have bought into the system and it's a good feeling.
"People underestimate us because we're from Prince George and were from UNBC, and nobody knows about that, and it's a good feeling to prove people wrong, like we did when we played Alberta."
The T-wolves' weekend home set also includes a Sunday noon game against the Mount Royal Cougars of Calgary (1-2-1). UNBC, Winnipeg, and Mount Royal are expansion cousins, each having entered the CIS as probationary members last season.
Fakunle, who grew up in Calgary, knows several of the Mount Royal players and he's been receiving texts from his buddies on the Cougars doubting the T-wolves are capable of repeating their strong effort two weekends ago.
UNBC lost its opener 7-0 to Saskatchewan on Sept. 6, then had a bye weekend.
While Mount Royal will likely play a finesse style of controlled passing, UNBC head coach Alan Alderson predicts Winnipeg will tend to be more run-and-gun in its offensive attacks and will try to use a physical style to intimidate. The Wesmen lead Canada West with 16 yellow cards in five games. UNBC has been carded twice in two games.
"Winnipeg is a bit of a wild card, they have lots of talented players and they're also young in the CIS and they're a real scrappy, aggressive bunch," said Alderson.