T-Birds claim inaugural Captains Cup after battle with Trinity Western Spartans

The UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team captured the inaugural Captains Cup this past weekend, earning themselves some new hardware in the process.

The Captains Cup is a preseason tournament between three Canadian university teams in the Lower Mainland: the T-Birds, the Trinity Western University Spartans, and the Simon Fraser University Clan. All three teams took part in the tournament organized by the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The tournament was a rare occasion for the 'Birds to face their BC rivals, since UBC competes in U Sports hockey while both Trinity Western and Simon Fraser compete in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL).

Each team played the other once during the round robin tournament, with the ’Birds having played Simon Fraser in the beginning of the tournament and easily taking care of their cross-town rivals with an 8-3 victory. The SFU Clan then fell 2-1 to Trinity Western, setting up the third and final game between Trinity and UBC as the Captains Cup decider.

The first period was scoreless, with both sides playing a fast-paced game and staying away from the penalty box.

UBC's Matt Revel turns back to face a pass headed his direction.
UBC's Matt Revel turns back to face a pass headed his direction. Salomon Micko Benrimoh

In the second, the ’Birds went ahead early on thanks to a goal from former Vancouver Giants forward Carter Popoff. Popoff later added his second of the afternoon after a two-on-one play with Michael Stenerson. The Spartans responded a few minutes later with a goal of their own, scoring on a man advantage.

Nearing the end of the period, the Spartans were one man up once again, but UBC forward Chase Clayton managed to take the puck from the ’Birds blue line and break down the ice to score a shorthanded goal, leaving the final score 3-1 in favor of the Thunderbirds.

After the game concluded, the ’Birds were presented with the Captains Cup by members of the Vancouver Giants organization.

The win concludes the ’Birds four-game preseason schedule. They will begin regular season Canada West play this Saturday and Sunday with games against the University of Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg.

Their first home game will be the following Friday on October 13 when they face off against the University of Calgary Dinos.