Pilots Score Five Goals In 13 Minutes To Defeat Zags
Oct. 9, 2016
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Portland Pilots scored five goals in a 13-minute stretch to defeat Gonzaga at Luger Field on Sunday afternoon in both teams West Coast Conference opener. Gio Magana-Rivera and Benji Michel connected to start the scoring at 52:28, and Eddie Sanchez recorded a hat trick combined with a goal from Michel to do the damage.
Gonzaga set their season-high in first half fouls with 13, but handled the physical contest and Jakob Granlund got loose in the 22nd minute and was fouled in the box. It was Granlund who took the PK, finding the open net for his third of the year. GU led in fouls but it was the Pilots who received three yellow cards in the first frame, including the Granlund breakaway attempt. Portland led 6-1 in shots in the first half and controlled much of the possession, but Gonzaga forced them to the middle of the field and limited any good chances. Ben Willis made his lone first half save at 31:22 as the Pilots put a spinning look on a loose ball from the top of the box, but Willis dove and pushed it wide of the net.
All told, there were 43 fouls, 26 on Gonzaga and 17 on Portland. That marked a season-high for Gonzaga and season-high combined total. The match featured four total penalty kicks, two of which were blocked. Gonzaga took no PK's last season and these were the first PK's they allowed this year. Gonzaga and their opponent have not taken two PK's each in a match in the last 15 years, nor has Gonzaga taken more than one PK in a match in the last 15 seasons.
"The difference clearly was those 15 minutes in the second half," Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinsson said. "Our game plan was to counter-attack, and we were doing that up to that point. Our focus was lost for that period of time."
On the match, Gonzaga mustered three shots compared to Portland's 14, with Granlund's and Denis Kalamar's penalty kick's being the only two on goal, as Kalamar's was blocked at 69:57. Ben Willis made a save in the first half and blocked one of the two Portland PK's in the match. For Gonzaga, it tied the season-high for opponent shots allowed and tied the season high for corner kicks allowed at seven.
Gonzaga fell to 6-4-1 and 0-1-0 in the conference, while Portland jumped to 7-3-1 and 1-0-0 in WCC action. The home stand was short lived for GU, as they head back on the road as conference action continues at Santa Clara at 7 pm next Friday, October 14.
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