T-wolves hosting Cascades on home turf

Don't let the Fraser Valley Cascades' record fool you.
Despite two losses to open the U Sports Canada West men's soccer season, the Cascades are as dangerous as the precipice of Niagara Falls.
The UNBC Timberwolves are well aware of what they are up against when the Cascades come to visit them at Masich Place Stadium tonight and Sunday afternoon and don't want to be trapped in a whirlpool on their home-opening weekend.
Both Cascades losses were to traditional Canada West powerhouses. They held the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds off the scoreboard until the 58-minute mark of their game Friday in Abbotsford, eventually falling 2-0, then traveled to Victoria and lost 2-0 to the Vikes.
Victoria and UBC now sit atop the Pacific Division, each off to 3-0 starts.
"Fraser Valley's a tough test," said T-wolves  head coach Steve Simonson. "They're always a playoff-contending team the last few years and they attract some really good recruits every year from the Lower Mainland, so we expect them to be good.
"We know them. We've played them and we've always matched up fairly well."
As part of their game strategy the T-wolves plan to keep a close eye on fifth-year striker Gurmaan Jajh, a Canada West first-team all-star last year, whose 13 goals in 15 games ranked second in the conference.
UNBC (1-1) started the season last weekend in Kelowna, earning a split with the UBC-Okanagan Heat. They lost Saturday 2-1, then beat the Heat 2-1 on Sunday.
Simonson is convinced the T-wolves have improved significantly in their attacking ability compared to last year's team, which struggled to score and was held to just 20 goals in 15 games.
"Just watching back our games against Okanagan, historically for us I think we scored one goal in the last two years against them, and in these last two games we probably created more against what's known as a very solid defensive team compared to the last three years," he said.
"We just look like we have a real creative flair going forward and we're finding more consistency and cohesion amongst each other. I actually think we have a much more threatening team. We were good in possession before but I think we're a much more attacking-minded team now."
In the loss in Kelowna the T-wolves came tantalizingly close to tying it, forcing the Heat to clear two balls off the goal line, among several quality chances UNBC generated.
"We look a bit menacing at times when we go forward and I'm excited about that," said Simonson. "If we can grow that confidence to believe we can score goals. I mean we were down 1-0 with 20 minutes to go (Sunday) and you win the game. That's got to help your confidence."
Tonight's game starts at 6 p.m. The rematch is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. After that, the T-wolves have just five home games left in the regular season.
“Every weekend is exciting for me, it’s a chance to prove who we are and what we stand for in the league," said T-wolves third-year midfielder Joel Watson. "The home opener is always a blast, the community support we get in Prince George is one of the best environments I’ve played in and I’m very grateful for that.
“We know that UFV is a strong team and has many threats but we also have belief that we can outwork any team, which I believe shows character in each and every one of our players. It’s important for us to match the intensity and standard of the match early on and hold our focus for the 90 minutes that counts.”
The T-wolves women's soccer team opens its season at home next Thursday at noon at Masich against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack of Kamloops.

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