The Blue Knights recent tour made its next stop at the University of Loughborough this week. The team arrived on the impressive campus to sunshine, but would experience most of the elements the UK has to offer, from snow to gale force winds. The University side was a throw together team, most of which were older than the majority of the Canadian side, but many with less years played than the young talent Oshawa has to offer.
The game started with the stylish ball movement expected from a Canadian side, who more or less passed the ball into the net, comfortably scoring many times to take a 4-1 lead. However the Brits soon sorted out the sloppy play typical of this kind of “mess-about” team that doesn’t train together, playing more tightly in defence and forcing outside shots on the Salford based goal keeper Ruairi Dolan.
The youngest player on the student team Dane Carney quickly stepped up, dragging the UK team out of their rut and scoring two exceptional finishes which have become a staple of his game. The UK comeback continued as the game went on, despite more great play by the young Blue Knights, and by the third quarter Universities were down by only one. Ryan Sweetman was next to step up, having already proved effective along with face off Josh Dodd and LSM Ed Simkin-Byrne, Sweetman turned his attention to the attacking end, linking up with Leeds Met team mate Ahmed Waqar to create the goals to take the lead in the game. Oshawa equalized with another fast break opportunity, allowing Carney to rise to the challenge yet again, scoring a flurry of goals towards the end of the game taking the Students to an eventual lead of two.
Oshawa scored again with an impressive hard ride and close to crease finish. Sweetman won possession for the University select, with only 13 seconds left on the clock as Sweetman ran the ball away from the opposition, coming under intense pressure university select’s coach called a time-out, allowing the UK side to put fresh legs on the ball in an attempt to maintain their lead. Senior England international Jack Brook started on the ball, and the Canadian side pulled the goal keeper and played two poles on Brook. After 9 seconds the Canadians had turned the ball over and began attacking the UK net, another time-out from their coach left 4 seconds for the Canadian side to score. The Canadian’s Michigan recruit and star attacker began on the ball, instantly hurling it to fellow D1 recruit who caught the ball under pressure, and managed to get a fade-away under arm shot to the bottom corner away as he fell to ground, the whistle went just before the ball crossed the line and the game ended in favour of the Students side… just about.
After exchanging gifts, and a number of swaps for various items of team kit the two sides retreated to the students union “John Cooper” bar, for a few drinks and comparisons between the BUCS game and the Canadian leagues. The Canadian’s travel to London today for sight seeing, and will go on to play an Academy team later in the week.
By Tom Roche