This week, the UBC women’s hockey team is facing off for the Canada West crown against rivals University of Manitoba Bisons. On Friday and Saturday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, the Thunderbirds will go to battle with the Manitoba Bisons at 7 p.m.
For the first time ever, the final CanWest game will be played on home ice. However the ’Birds will want to be careful about repeating history — the Bisons have become something of a foil to our lovable T-Birds. Last year, the ’Birds finished their playoff campaign early as the Bisons beat them on home ice and then snapped the T-Bird’s three game streak in their regular season, which dropped the ’Birds down to fourth place in the regular season standings. On top of that, UBC’s top goalie, Danielle Dube, was taken down by the Bisons in a collision, which saw her stretchered off the ice and sent to the hospital. It's safe to say UBC has a little bit of beef with the Bisons.
Last week, the ’Birds showed their grit when they won two back-to-back elimination games against the University of Regina Cougars. After losing the Friday game in a 3-0 shut out, the ’Birds rallied and came back for a 1-0 win on Saturday to completed the series with a 3-2 victory.
But beating the Bisons won’t be an easy feat. Manitoba currently sits first in the playoffs league with the ’Birds tailing in third place. The Bisons also boast their golden trio — Venla Hovi, Lauryn Keen and Alanna Sharman, all of whom sit on top of the list of top scorers in the league. They also are coming in having beaten regular season frontrunners the University of Alberta Pandas. The ’Birds will have their work cut out for them this weekend.
UBC does have its own star-studded roster though. Kathleen Cahoon, Rebecca Unrau and Logan Boyd all are listed in the top 20 scorers of the playoffs, and Cahoon’s goal from the Saturday game against the Regina Cougars was what kept the ’Birds alive during the semi-finals. UBC also has Dube — one of the top goalies of the league — with a spectacular 1.00 goals-against-average over two games and she is considered the best in the playoffs. Considering she hadn’t been on the ice until days before the semi-final match, Dube has rightfully earned that title.
Either way, the ’Birds are still making history by hosting the conference final. They have come closer and closer to making the finals and winning the conference, so here’s to hoping their efforts will finally pay off.
Playoff games are free for UBC students and games are on at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s worth cheering the UBC Thunderbirds on and it’s also worth stopping by to ask the Bisons, “Where is the University of Manitoba anyway?”