On Friday, August 19, the UBC Thunderbirds faced off against their crosstown rivals, Simon Fraser University (SFU) in a game that ended in a scoreless tie.
Despite the draw at their home in the Thunderbird Stadium, it was a positive result for the ‘Birds. The team’s preseason so far has seen a pair of painful losses to Oregon State University and Seattle University, with both games ending 1-3 against UBC. The T-Birds had hoped to improve their preseason record, which they did.
The T-Birds came out in full force against SFU, and SFU did the same. Both matched each other for most of the game. The first half saw only one shot on goal from each team, and although the game ramped up in the second half, SFU had four shots on goal and UBC had five.
The game was also riddled with a total of 31 fouls, to be expected from a derby match, but only one yellow card.
Chad Bush — the solid goal keeper who kept the Thunderbirds' Canada West hopes alive last season — was as dependable as always, with four saves in the game.
"It's a rivalry game. We asked our guys to come out to battle and compete and they did that," said head coach Mike Mosher in an article by UBC Athletics. "That's a great starting point for us. If we don't give up a lot of chances and then you have a quality goaltender in Chad Bush, that's pretty darn good spot to begin with and set yourself up to win games."
Last year, the Thunderbirds defeated SFU 1-0, with the lone goal scored by midfielder Justin Wallace. The team then went on to finish their regular season undefeated (10-0-2), and beat the University of Victoria Vikes 2-1 in the Canada West final. Their campaign run was halted in the CIS national semifinal, in which the York University Lions edged past them in a penalty shootout. Though a sad ending to a spectacular season, the ‘Birds seemed ready to take on the new season
“Our goal every year is to be at this tournament and win,” said head coach Mike Mosher in an interview with The Ubyssey after the championship game last year. Maybe the ‘Birds can pull off a repeat this season, and become the CIS national championships.
The ‘Birds will play their first two games of the regular season on the road next weekend against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack and the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28 respectively.