Pandamonium: Alberta ends UBC's 15-game winning streak

Coming off of a 14-game winning streak before the winter break, the UBC women’s hockey team picked up a win and a loss against the University of Alberta Pandas, ending their streak at 15 games.  

The weekend doubleheader was a match-up between the two top teams in Canada West. The first game on Friday ended in a 3-1 win for the ’Birds, with goals from Cassandra Vilgrain, Nicole Saxvik and Haneet Parhar. Goalkeeper Amelia Boughn recorded another outstanding performance in the net, making 20 stops on 21 shots.

In the second game of the doubleheader, UBC dropped a 2-1 decision.

“It’s hard to see [the winning streak] come to an end, but as far as that goes, we did set a history for our program,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas after the game. “We are proud of our girls for that.”

The ’Birds had their best scoring chances midway into the first frame, when penalties to Alberta’s Regan Wright and Jessie Olfert gave the ’Birds a 5-on-3 advantage. Still, tight defence by the Pandas kept the ’Birds from putting points on the board and the period ultimately ended scoreless.

After the scoreless affair in the first period, UBC got onto the scoreboard a little over a minute into the second, when Saxvik fired a shot from the right circle to beat Alberta goalkeeper Dayna Owen — recording her second goal of the weekend.

Still, the ’Birds' lead didn’t last long. Two minutes after Saxvik’s goal, teammate Jenna Carpenter-Boesch took a penalty for bodychecking, putting Alberta on the power play. The Pandas then capitalized, mounting offensive pressure in the attacking zone before a goal by Hannah Olenyk from the slot tied the game at 1-1.

Five minutes after the equalizing goal, UBC again got into penalty trouble, as Kelly Murray went to the box for high-sticking. This time, it was Sasha Lutz who picked up the goal for Alberta, rifling the puck past Boughn on an open shot from the right circle to pull the Pandas ahead 2-1.

“[Alberta’s] penalty kills were running really well and we had just a few little mishaps, and then we just weren’t as sharp,” said Thomas.

The third period, like the first, was again scoreless, which secured the 2-1 win for Alberta.

Still, Saxvik believes that the ’Birds' loss to the Pandas is motivation for the team to play stronger in the next game.

“We don’t really look at the numbers these days. We’re just coming out of every game playing our best and today, [Alberta] came out with a win, but we’re going to come out even harder next week,” said Saxvik.

UBC now holds a 16-2 season record, and will play its next doubleheader on the road against the University of Manitoba Bisons.