With a stunning victory against the University of Manitoba Bisons in the Winter Classic, the UBC men’s hockey team went on to split a weekend doubleheader against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
The ’Birds dropped the first game by a 2-1 decision, where UBC forward Adam Rossignol had the only goal for UBC. Saskatchewan had twice the number of shots on goal as the ’Birds, but the game ended in a one-goal difference thanks to a solid performance by goaltender Matt Hewitt in the net.
In the second game, the ’Birds came out on top 4-2 on a come-from-behind win.
“It’s huge going into the stretch here. I know [Saskatchewan] is definitely one of the best teams in Canada … and to beat them really gives us insurance going forward,” said T-Bird forward Luke Lockhart after the game.
After the scoreless opening frame, it was the Huskies who claimed the initial lead with a little over 10 minutes into the second. The goal came from Jesse Forsberg during a Saskatchewan power play, which resulted from a hooking penalty against UBC’s Chase Clayton.
Five minutes after the first goal, Lockhart got the equalizer for the ’Birds when he picked up a loose puck along the boards and rifled it past Huskies goalkeeper Daniel Wapple from the left circle.
In the final two minutes of the second frame, Andrew Johnson reclaimed the lead for the Huskies. Despite the 2-1 deficit, the ’Birds came out strong in the third, producing three goals to come out on top.
“I know it’s in there … to be down one goal against one of the top teams in Canada and just [sticking] to the game plan add a little bit of desperation,” said UBC head coach Sven Butenschon after the game.
The first of the third-period goals came from Clayton, who managed to take the puck from a defender in the slot before finding his way to the crease to put the biscuit in the basket.
With seven and a half minutes remaining in the game, Lockhart managed a sharp-angle shot on Wapple before running hard into the end boards. He then picked up his second goal of the game on a pass by teammate Nick Buonassisi.
Only two minutes later, Buonassisi picked up the game-winning goal for UBC, skating with the puck from the neutral zone before deking past two Huskies defenders and beating Wapple to make it 4-2 for the ’Birds.
“Some of these guys were so overdue, it was bound to happen. I was grateful for Lockhart and Buonassisi there getting back on the scoreboard,” said Butenschon.
With six games remaining in the regular season, the game on Saturday was a much-needed win for the ’Birds who are currently sitting second to last in Canada West.
“There’s not much time left, but if we keep playing the same way, we’ll keep picking up points and we should be able to scrap our way back into the playoffs,” said Lockhart.
UBC now holds an 8-11-2 record, and will travel on the road next week to play the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.