With a first-place finish, women's hockey earns berth to semifinals

The UBC women's hockey team made history by clinching the top spot in U Sports. The team then finished their regular season with a split against the Mount Royal Cougars.

The first game of the doubleheader ended in a 1-0 win for the ’Birds. UBC forward Logan Boyd had the lone goal in the final frame. Goaltender Amelia Boughn made 13 saves, which helped her pick up a third straight shutout on home ice.

On Saturday, eight of their graduating seniors were honoured — Melissa Goodwin, Katie Zinn, Jenna Carpenter-Boesch, Kelly Murray, Emily O’Neill, Nicole Saxvik, Haneet Parhar, Stephanie Schaupmeyer.

The ’Birds dropped a 2-0 decision.

“[The seniors] that had been here since the beginning of my time came in together and the things that they have accomplished during their time here is just truly remarkable,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas after the game.

Still, Thomas believes that the emotional atmosphere of bidding farewell to the graduating players did partly contribute to the T-Birds’ loss.

“We didn’t seem to have that same kind of fight and energy,” said Thomas. “Seniors leaving made it tough to manage emotions.”

The first goal of the match came 12 minutes into first frame. Shortly after an opening faceoff in the UBC zone, Mount Royal’s Shawni Rodeback scored from outside the slot. The goal was on a deflection off of teammate Channia Alexander, putting the Cougars ahead by 1-0.

Strong offensive play dominated the second frame with many close scoring chances. Still, it wasn’t until the final two minutes of the game that another goal came. This time, it came from Alexander, who hammered a one-timer from the high slot to double the Cougars’ lead.

Now down by two goals, the ’Birds fought hard in the final period to get onto the scoreboard. An opportunity came a little under two minutes into the frame. Cougars Cylenna Alexander and Kennedy Bozek both received tripping penalties. This gave UBC a 5-on-3 advantage. Still, the ’Birds were unable to score.

With the scoreless final period, the game ended 2-0 in favour of Mount Royal.

Fifth-year forward O’Neill has just played the last regular season game of her varsity career. For her, the loss is only motivation to train harder for her final playoff series and make a run at a national championship.

“I think [the game] not ending the way we quite liked it will definitely inspire us to put that extra work in,” said O’Neill.

“[The national championship] is something that’s been burning since my first year … and ever since, there’s been some kind of unfinished business.”

UBC now holds a regular season record of 23-4-1. With the first-place finish in Canada West, the ’Birds will earn a berth into the semifinals, which will begin on February 24 at home ice.