Weekend Rundown: Men’s rugby and women’s hockey come up just short

Men’s rugby dropped the championship final to UVic in an unbelievably close finish while women's hockey had their points streak snapped by Mount Royal.

Men's rugby drop nail-bitter to rivals UVic in championship final

The Thunderbird men’s rugby tournament started on Wednesday against the Brock University Badgers. UBC defeated the Badgers in a convincing 56–10 win, in which the Thunderbird tries were scored by Mike Smith, Jack Scher, Connor Byron, Don Carson, Owain Ruttan, Dan Archer, Nick Allen and Flynn Heyes. Conversions on all tries were successful with Scher scoring 19 points while kicking a perfect game.

Next up, the Thunderbirds hosted the Concordia University Stingers. Despite briefly trailing in points, the ’Birds finished the game on top by a score of 22–18 and their pack played a phenomenal game, dominating scrum-after-scrum and winning lineout after lineout.

Despite a good year for the stingers in Quebec conference play the result was still unexpectedly close owing partly to a noble defensive effort by the Stingers and partly due to an improbable play in the form of a try scored off a missed penalty kick, which bounced upwards into the hands of chasing Stingers Center Thomas Goetz.

The game saw UBC's Nick Frost score two tries and Liam Doll score one try. On the kicking front, UBC’s Scher made one conversion, Harrison Smith made a conversion and penalty kick.

The final game was a clash between the first-seeded Thunderbirds and the third-seeded University of Victoria Vikes. While the Thunderbirds took control of the game early with two tries, it wasn’t enough to win. At some point, it appeared the Vikes identified a weakness in UBC’s maul defence.

By the time that UBC received a tide-changing yellow card, they had committed four maul infractions including three in quick succession deep in their own end. UVic took no time exploiting the man advantage, with James O’Neill scoring tries roughly 25 and 29 minutes into the game. Both conversions were made, putting the Vikes up 14–12 at half time.

In the second half, the T-Birds briefly retook the lead with a penalty kick from Scher. But, a UVic converted try quickly made the game 21–15 in their favour. The final minutes of the game provided a nail-biting finish. UBC strung together phase-after-phase and maintained possession — anything other than a converted try would have lost UBC the game. A final try was scored in the corner of UVic’s endzone, but the potentially game winning conversion was missed as UBC fell to the Vikes 21–20.

UBC will have a chance at revenge when both teams return to Vancouver in March.
UBC will have a chance at revenge when both teams return to Vancouver in March. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

T-Birds drop weekend against Mount Royal

It was not the weekend the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team had hoped for.

Going into this weekend against the Mount Royal University Cougars at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, the T-Birds had a 8–2–2 conference record and had only allowed three goals in their last six games.

But even with the overtime loss on Friday’s game, the T-Birds were able to maintain the 11–game point streak that stretched all the way back to the first weekend of October. But that streak came to an end on Saturday.

Halfway through the first period on Saturday’s game, the Cougars’ Nicolette Seper scored the first goal of the game assisted by Tianna Ko and Anna Purschke.

During the second period, Tatum Amy and Laura Cook from the Cougars were given penalties — body checking for Amy and hooking for Cook — giving the T-Birds a five-on-three opportunity. But the Cougars defence stood tall and kept UBC off the board while preserving their slim 1–0 lead.

At the last three minutes of the third period, the T-Birds put in extra attacker by pulling goalie Tory Micklash, but it was still not enough to tie the game.

The loss drops the T-Birds to second place in Canada West behind the University of Calgary Dinos, who hold a 9–4–1 after splitting their weekend against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

“Our mindset is always using everybody in our roster. It’s 1 to 25 and just building on everyday and every shift, that’s our mindset. It’s a long season and we are just looking to see progression from shift to shift, period to period, game to game,” said Mike Sommer, the assistant coach of UBC women’s hockey.

The T-Birds hope to recover from this disappointing weekend and climb back up in the Canada West rankings with a win against the University of Alberta Pandas next Friday and Saturday during the Winter Wonderland festival games at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena.

The T-Birds will need to come up big against Alberta this weekend.
The T-Birds will need to come up big against Alberta this weekend. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

A previous version of this article mistakenly displayed of photo of men's hockey instead of the women's team. it has since been corrected.