The UBC women’s hockey team took the first game of the Canada West Final series in a tight 2-1 victory over the Manitoba Bisons.
Thunderbird Shiayli Toni opened the scoring at the eighth minute of the first period, scoring her first goal of the post-season off of an assist from Cailey Hay and Jenna Carpenter-Boesch.
The Bisons were quick to respond, and seven minutes later Bison Lauryn Keen chipped in a pass from teammate Alanna Sharman past Thunderbird goalie Danielle Dube to make the score 1-1.
The ’Birds rebounded even faster. Less than a minute later, ’Birds Celine Tardif and Kaylin Snodgrass played up and sent Bison goaltender Amanda Schubert sprawling just in time for ’Bird Mathea Fischer to shoot the goal over her and reclaim the lead.
Neither side was able to score after the first period, but towards the final five minutes of the game, Manitoba’s offense blew up. The Bisons began to put some real pressure on the ’Birds, and it was thanks to Dube’s solid goaltending and the tight defense of the Thunderbirds that allowed UBC to claim victory for the first of the series.
Dube and Schubert were closely matched throughout the night — scoring only happened during the first period. But with this win, Dube adds to her impressive stats this season, boasting a 1.00 goals against average, good for first among goalies in the post-season. Tonight also puts the ’Birds on a three-game hot streak, which they can hopefully extend to win the Canada West League.
Despite the first win, the ’Birds shouldn’t get too comfortable. The Bisons are known for pulling out all the stops under pressure. They could — and will most likely — very easily come back against the ’Birds on Saturday. Last year the Bisons stood their ground against two back-to-back elimination games to finish the Thunderbirds’ playoff career on home ice.
The two teams will do battle again tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Center. The ’Birds will be looking to wrap things up, but if needed, they will play a tiebreaker on Sunday.