‘Need to be better’: Thunderbirds salvage weekend against Cougars

Coming off back-to-back losses against the Saskatchewan Huskies last weekend, the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team had something to prove as they went head-to-head against the Mount Royal University (MRU) Cougars on Friday night.

Though not their prettiest win — the two teams would not be able to decide a victor through three periods or either overtime period — the T-Birds would earn some positive momentum heading into their final games of the regular season with a 1-0 shootout victory.

“We didn’t come prepared and ready to play,” commented UBC head coach Graham Thomas after the win. “We’re really challenging our group right now. If we want to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we need to be better ... we need to come ready to play.”

The first period saw few quality chances come at either end. Three minutes and 35 seconds in, UBC went on the power play due to an undisciplined bodychecking penalty taken by Cougar forward Tatum Amy. Even though the T-Birds moved the puck well and kept good possession throughout their man advantage, pucks weren’t getting through to the net and the ones that did were easily stopped by Cougars goaltender Zoe De Beauville.

“[De Beauville]’s a really good goalie and we were just staying focused and trying not to get frustrated,” T-Birds forward Kathleen Cahoon said of the Mount Royal goalie.

Midway through the second period, ’Birds forward Kenzie Robinson would get the first convincing chance for the home team. Skating onto a bouncing puck off the glass, she seemingly ripped home a rocket shot from the slot above the right face-off dot, but the call would be an unfortunate no-goal.

The third period was the T-Bird’s best display of their defensive capabilities. With 4:10 remaining, Thunderbird forward Madison Patrick blocked a shot and displayed excellent puck control at the UBC blueline. However, the transition up-ice wouldn't result in anything for the 'Birds and the game would go to its first overtime.

In the second overtime, 3-on-3, UBC forward Mathea Fischer took off on a breakaway 24 seconds in but just couldn’t finish on the play. Though UBC looked strong through the neutral zone and didn’t find themselves pressured in their own zone, they couldn't find the net.

The game, which seemed like it might never see a goal, would go to a shootout, where UBC's Kathleen Cahoon ended the game on a winning note — snaking a backhander home between the pads of De Beauville.

“I have that move in my back pocket all the time,” said Cahoon after the win. “It’s worked for me in the past and [De Beauville] doesn’t really know me, so I just thought I'd try it out. You can only do it on certain goalies.”

While UBC netminder Tory Micklash wasn’t very busy on the night, as she only had to make 11 saves through three regulation periods and two overtimes, she stopped everything that came her way. The game finished 32-11 in shots in favour of UBC.

The Thunderbirds followed up the 1-0 shootout win with a 2-1 regular time win on Saturday afternoon. Madison Patrick and Emily Costales scored for the Thunderbirds, while Tatum Amy scored Mount Royal's lone goal of the weekend.

Next weekend, the ’Birds head to Edmonton to face the Alberta Golden Bears in their final regular seasons games of the year.