The Bears kicked off their season with a lopsided win and two new CIS records against the Mount Royal University Cougars.
They lost no time getting started on Saturday, setting a Canada West record fewer than two minutes into the game for scoring the two fastest goals in conference history at 43 seconds. They then piled up five more goals against the Cougars to complete the rude awakening for the conference newcomers.
Marcus Johnstone had a career-best pair of goals and assists — matching another CanWest record with four points in one game — while Glyndonn Dobson, Jonah Feil, Cam Schmidt and Jermele Campbell all got on the scoresheet as well.
Johnstone clinched both his first assist and goal of the game within 43 seconds when he set up Schmidt at 1:07 before scoring at 1:54, surprising Cougars goalie David Thalheimer, and his entire team with the point coming so quickly after Schmidt’s tally.
The Bears never looked back after that. The Cougars, meanwhile, self-imploded.
“We got the best possible start with those two goals,” Johnstone said about his game-winning contribution.
“They didn’t see that coming, and once you’re down like that, it’s always going to be difficult to get into the game.”
The Cougars came out fighting at the beginning of the second half, but head coach Jamie Pollock swapped keepers and put on striker Mike Weigle in an effort at damage control.
Brad Hughes, also on as a sub-goalkeeper for the Bears, ably handled a couple speculative shots before the Bears scored on a sweeping counter-attack, with Dobson bagging his first goal for the Bears off a generous Zenon Markevych assist.
With the Cougars deflated, there was still room for a couple more as Johnstone and Dobson poached a goal each to seal the result.
Vickery, though pleased with the team’s performance, particularly the newcomers, chalked the resounding defeat up to growing pains for the Cougars.
“I think we perhaps caught Mount Royal a little bit off guard with the kind of level that Canada West is,” Vickery said. “It’s going to be tougher next time for us ... I’m sure they’re going to improve now that they know the demands of Canada West.”
The result, meanwhile, meant the Bears rookies got the ideal introduction to CanWest soccer.
“Some players that haven’t had the opportunity to play at the highest level got their feet wet today,” Vickery said. “But honestly, we still have to keep working so we get better week by week.”
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