The UBC Thunderbirds have rung in the New Year in style. The team finally broke their long-term losing skid (dating back to November 15) on Friday night after dominating the Mount Royal University Cougars in a 3-1 win, followed by a 4-0 shutout the next afternoon.
The ‘Birds dominated Friday’s game. It took some serious goaltending skills from Cougar goalie Jessica Ross to keep the score from escalating any further.
But even her skills weren’t enough to stop T-Bird Nicole Saxvik from chipping in her seventh goal of the season. The 1-0 lead was not kept for long, as 46 seconds later the score evened out with a goal from Mount Royal’s Sydney Laurin to become 1-1.
Thunderbird Nikola Brown-John managed to break the tie later on in the second period, banging in a rebound shot from Devon Morrison. The ‘Birds were unstoppable after that; the Cougars only managed two shots on net for the remainder of the period.
UBC closed things off with another goal in the third period. ‘Bird Tatiana Rafter tipped in another shot off of Morrison to add an insurance goal, and the ‘Birds emerged victorious with the score ending at 3-1.
UBC goalie Danielle Dube stopped 13 of the 14 shots fired at the net during her first game in just under a year, while her Cougar counterpart Ross stopped 39 of 42.
Head coach Graham Thomas was happy to snap his team’s losing streak, something to which this talented UBC team is not accustomed.
“It was a bit worrying to go without a W for such a long time,” he said. “It was nice to see that we took a lot of their speed and opportunities away early on before they could try anything.”
The ‘Birds were also happy to welcome home a familiar face. Joining the bench was former captain Christi Capozzi, who had finished her time in Sweden with the Göteborg Hockey Club and is now back at UBC as assistant coach with the team for the rest of the season.
“I’m super excited to be back,” Capozzi said. “The team’s looking great and it’s going to be a good stretch. I’d rather be out playing for sure, but it’s fun to be around the rink, even if it’s just on the bench with all the girls.”
UBC went on to sweep the weekend with a 4-0 win on Saturday. They will be taking a trip to Saskatchewan to face the Huskies next weekend, followed by a trip to Regina to play the other Cougars. Their next home game will be on January 30 against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.