Welcome back to Weekend Rundown, your place to stay up to date with all of the different Thunderbirds teams!
Men’s hockey claim first place with weekend sweep
The T-Birds overcame a three-goal deficit on Saturday afternoon to complete the weekend sweep of the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
On Friday night, fans were welcomed with an immediately exciting pace of hockey. Just over a minute into the game, Saskatchewan’s Zane Franklin was awarded a penalty shot after he was upended on a 2-on-0, but was thwarted by a sprawling Rylan Toth.
It would be the first of many tremendous saves to come for the T-Birds netminder.
Seven minutes into the opening period, UBC captain Tyler Sandhu slipped past the Huskies defenders and deked around goaltender Roddy Ross to score the first goal of the game.
Saskatchewan found momentum in the second half of the period, confidently stepping up physically and impressing with their speed on the backcheck.
The Huskies tied the game before the end of the first, after a point shot squeaked through Toth and was banged into the net by Dawson Holt.
Early in the second frame, a point shot from rookie defenceman Matt Leduc was tipped in front by Matt Revel past Ross to give the T-Birds a 2–1 lead. The goal would prove to be the game winner, as UBC added two more goals in the second period and held on in the third to win the game 4–1.
After the loss, Huskies head coach Mike Babcock was quick to acknowledge his opponents strong performance.
“The better team won [tonight],” Babcock said of UBC.
“It’s real simple in life; you’re either the teacher or you’re the student, and tonight we got a lesson. [We’ve] got to regroup and get ready for a game tomorrow.”
The following afternoon, Saskatchewan appeared to be more than ready. The Huskies scored two quick power play goals to jump out to an early lead.
Then, an incredible shorthanded effort from forward Donavan Neuls put UBC down 3–0 with just seven minutes left in the first period and sucked any remaining energy from the building.
The T-Birds were handed a 5-on-3 power play a few minutes later, and a timeout was called by coach Sven Butenschön to draw up a play.
The strategy worked, as star defenceman Jonathan Smart got UBC on the board 18 seconds into the power play and gave his team some life.
Moments later, Cyle McNabb took the puck end to end and finished off a highlight reel goal to bring UBC within one heading into the intermission.
After a scoreless second period, the T-Birds headed into the third period still down one goal. Just under halfway into the final frame the puck worked itself to the point after a prolonged battle along the boards in the Saskatchewan zone.
Coming off the bench, Revel unleashed a slap shot with eyes for the top corner, and tied the game 3–3.
One minute later Chris Douglas slipped the puck through the legs of Huskies goaltender Travis Child, giving UBC their first lead of the game. Tian Rask and Revel would add one more goal each before the final buzzer, as the T-Birds completed the comeback to win the game 6–3, and sweep the weekend series. With the victory, UBC takes over first place in the Canada West with a record of 8-1-1.
“We still have lots to prove,” said Butenschön. “We’ll enjoy [first place] for tonight, and then [we’re] coming back on Monday ready to work.”
Next weekend, the T-Birds won’t travel far as they face off against the Trinity Western University Spartans in Langley.
Women’s volleyball defeat the formerly undefeated Spartans
The T-Birds split the weekend in Langley against the Trinity Western University Spartans.
Coming off of a bye weekend and a 3–1 loss on Friday, the T-Birds were back with a vengeance on Saturday, winning 15–11 in the fifth set. Before the 3–2 win for the T-Birds on Saturday, the Spartans were undefeated in regular season play.
Off to a rough start on Saturday, the T-Birds had trouble on defence and service receive, eventually dropping the first set 32–30.
The T-Birds Claire Cossarini and Elise Petit set the tone for offence on Saturday, with 12 and 10 kills respectively. Cara Kovacs led UBC in kills with 19 on Friday — a season high for the T-Birds. The Spartans dropped the second set 25–21.
With a series of scramble plays by both the T-Birds and Spartans, the third set finished with a Spartan win, 25–17, followed closely with the T-Birds winning the fourth set, 28–26.
Danielle Price was a force to be reckoned with at the net, leading the T-Birds in blocks with six.
On the defensive side, Kacey Jost and Jess Goodridge led the T-Birds in defence, with a total of 24 digs each, across the weekend. Jost also led the team in aces alongside Petit and Cossarini, all with three each through the split.
A series of kills and aces by the T-Birds forced the Spartans into the first timeout for the fifth set. The Spartans struggled to keep up with the T-Bird’s scrappy plays and impeccable defence. With a stuff block by Price, the T-Birds won the fifth set 15–11, improving to 2–2 in the season.
The T-Birds will be in Kelowna next weekend competing against the UBC Okanagan Heat who are 4-0 in regular season play.
Women’s hockey split weekend series against the Huskies
After a hard-fought battle on Friday night that ended in a tough loss for UBC, rookie goaltender Elise Hugens put on an amazing show with 24 saves leading to her fourth shut-out of the season Saturday afternoon.
On Friday night, after a scoreless first period, T-Birds opened the scoring a minute and half into the second. With the Huskies failing to clear the puck in their own zone, Ireland Perrott was able to get a pass down to Sophia Gaskell who was open at the blue line shooting and getting her shot past Camryn Drever with traffic blocking the front of the net.
Later in the period, the Huskies battled back with Jordyn Holmes flying back into the zone driving to the corner and passing back up to the blue line to her teammate Isabella Pozzi who similarly got her shot past Hugens who had traffic blocking the front of the net.
Both teams continued to play hard in the second period getting rewarded with a power play goal each. The Huskies were able to end the second with a 3–2 lead after putting pressure on the T-Birds in their own zone as they struggled to clear the puck allowing for the momentum to build.
Jordyn Holmes drove in hard towards the net getting her second point of the game.
The game ended with a 4–2 loss for the T-Birds as the Huskies got the last goal of the game on a power play going 2-for-5 through the game.
Although the T-Birds couldn’t pick up any points on Friday, they built off the effort and earned a well-deserved two points on Saturday.
The T-Birds and Huskies came out strong in the first period forcing both goaltenders to stay on their toes as both teams were coming in hot at the net.
UBC once again opened the scoring with Ashley Mcfadden burying a shot from the slot into the back of the net on the power play after receiving a beautiful pass from captain Kenzie Robinson.
The T-Birds didn’t stop there in the first and continued to put pressure on the Huskies getting the second and winning goal of the game in the final minute of the first period. Hannah Koroll really took the saying, “third times the charm” to heart, getting a goal top shelf while her teammates screened the front of the net.
The T-Birds outplayed the Huskies in the second period with 15 shots on net, but Drever pushed to keep her team in there.
Hugens carried her team to the victory not allowing anything to get past her tonight moving the T-Birds two points behind Mount Royal in the division standings.
The T-Birds will come home for their last weekend series of 2021 to play against Mount Royal University hoping to end the year off on the high note.