T-Birds tie team record for biggest win margin of season against Cougars

After getting the weekend started on the right foot on Friday with a 3-1 win over the Regina Cougars (3-14-2), the UBC Thunderbirds (9-9-1) completed the sweep on Saturday night, and in fine form too: a 6-1 thrashing of the home side.

The Cougars would be without their highest scoring rookie, Zachary Zborosky, that night. The former member of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes headed into the weekend with nine goals and 13 assists. Although he played on Friday, he was noticeably absent the following evening.

UBC would start goalie Matt Hewitt for the second night in a row after a stellar showing on Friday evening — stopping 27 of 28 shots in a victorious effort. Regina would start rookie goalie Michael Herringer, who headed into the evening with a 5.15 goals against average and 0.855 save percentage through 15 games.

The first period would get off to a rapid start, as a quick rush would get the T-Birds on the board just 21 seconds in. Centre Michael Stenerson drove up the middle of the ice and passed off to leading scorer Austin Vetterl on the left wing. Stenerson then split off to the right and took the return pass, one-timing the puck past the Cougars goalie to give UBC the lead.

With nine and a half minutes left in the first frame, UBC would take a penalty, but none of the chances generated by the University of Regina would turn into scoring opportunities. UBC dominated zone time for the rest of the period, and would head to the dressing rooms 1-0 up with two periods left to play.

The second period started off a bit slow, with Hewitt only having to make one save off of a slapper by the Cougars’ Brody Luhning. However, Cougars’ forward Corwin Stevely would absolutely lay out defenseman Tanner Faith at the 3:16 mark, and the physicality started to ramp up from there.

A minute later, UBC forward Nick Buonassisi got the puck below the opposition’s left wing hash marks and drove the net. Weaving in with a deke to the backhand and sliding the puck home five-hole, Buonassisi made it 2-0 for the ’Birds.

Thirty seconds later, Regina forward Stephen Langford took a pass off the rush from d-man Austin Bourhis and roofed it over Hewitt’s glove hand to cut the lead in half. But it didn’t last long. Buonassisi dished the puck from the right wing down to Carter Popoff at the bottom of the left circle at the 7:15 mark, and Popoff ripped it past Herringer to recover the two-goal lead.

At the 11:34 mark, Cougar forward Zach McPhee dumped UBC defender Jerret Smith, who went down and needed help off the ice. It looked like his helmet may have gone straight into the dasher, and he looked dazed going off. This collision would ultimately cost Regina, as T-Bird Adam Rossignol would score a bingo from the slot on the ensuing power play, putting UBC up 4-1 heading into the third.

The third period started with a goalie change, as Regina would swap out Michael Herringer in favor of Dawson MacAuley. At the 4:35 mark, the new goalie was forced to get his game face on quickly as he got caught out trying to play the puck, but UBC was unable to finish on the turnover.

After a flurry of saves by MacAuley at the 11:30 mark, UBC forward and alternate captain Chase Clayton took an up-ice feed through the neutral zone from Austin Glover, cut in from the right wing and went cross-crease to fire a quick snapper over the blocker of Dawson MacAuley, putting the T-Birds ahead 5-1.

As time wound down, UBC rookie Matt Revel would deflect a shot from the point past Regina’s goalie to make the score 6-1, handing the University of Regina Cougars their sixth loss in a row.

The UBC Thunderbirds have won all four meetings with the Cougars this year, sweeping the season series and walking away from the weekend with a 10-9-1 record on the season.