The Wolfpack and Thunderbirds face off in draw

Opening the season with a tense match, the ‘Pack stood their ground against the UBC T-birds

A hard-fought contest between two teams tapped to finish near the top of the conference finished 1-1 in Kamloops Friday, Sept. 10 as the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and UBC Thunderbirds played to a draw.

“The guys were totally pumped up, it was actually to a point where I was having to calm them down a bit,” said WolfPack head coach John Antulov. “And then when you play a team as good as UBC you have to be calm and relaxed. Overall we battled and fought back to get a result and we have to be pretty happy with that.”

Both goals came from set pieces, as scoring chances from free-play were at a premium inside Hillside Stadium in what was both teams return to Canada West action after a cancelled 2020 season.

Fourth-year defender Jackson Farmer tallied in the 26th minute for UBC, while third-year forward Dylan Hooper answered in the 72nd for TRU.

The Wolfpack’s goalie, Jackson Gardner, did more than his fair share in the home opener, making a pair of saves including a diving effort off a well-struck free-kick from the foot of Thomas Gardner.

“Defensively I thought our whole backline was fantastic, we had a very young middle of the park with two rookies in there against a couple of the top players in Canada. I thought Jonathan Rinaldi and Akwasi Agyekum handled themselves really well,” Antulov said. 

UBC was chosen first in the annual Canada West Coaches Poll just days ago, while TRU was selected fifth.