Jeff Sargeant/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – For the first time in over two years the UBC Thunderbirds (6-4-0-0) suffered a weekend sweep on home ice thanks to a 2-1 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies (7-2-0-1) Saturday afternoon at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
The 'Birds were finally able to solve Huskies goaltender Jessica Vance at the 10:35 mark of the second period when Hannah Clayton-Carroll scored her fourth of the season on the power play to tie the game at one. But just 63 seconds later, Saskatchewan responded with what turned out to be the game winning goal from Emily Upgang.
"It was a tough weekend, some tough bounces, tough breaks, tough calls," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas after the loss. "But those all can't be excuses. I did think we played well enough to win in the first two periods for sure. I thought we controlled puck possession time and controlled the game and they just got a couple bounces and we're back on our heels."
Vance finished the game with 17 saves while Amelia Boughn stopped 26 and gave the 'Birds terrific goaltending for the second straight game picking up where Tory Micklash left off the night before.
After a scoreless first period, the Huskies opened scoring for the second time in as many games. Kayla Kirwan shot the puck from the blue line through traffic and past Boughn for her first of the season at the 7:42 mark. That spurned a flurry of activity that saw all three goals of the game scored within a four-minute span.
Shortly after Kirwan's tally the T-Birds were given their second power play of the game. After failing to execute on their previous six advantages of the weekend, the 'Birds needed just 33 seconds before Clayton-Carroll pounced on a rebound from a Mathea Fischer shot. Celine Tardif picked up the second assist.
Just 63 seconds later the Huskies restored their lead with Upgang's fourth from Bailee Bourassa and Leah Bohlken.
UBC was outshot 28-18 and 15-5 in the third period alone.
"In the third we just didn't come out with the same jump and desperation," said Thomas. "We took some undisciplined penalties and shot ourselves in the foot. All we needed to do was to keep playing the same game we were playing and with a little extra push I think we would have come back for sure."
The Thunderbirds finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play while the Huskies went 0-for-6.
UBC's loss drops the 'Birds to fourth in the conference, four points back of the Huskies who occupy top spot.
"In the long run I really do think this is good for this group," added Thomas who believes a little adversity never hurt anyone. "We need to be better top to bottom. Coaches, all the way down."
The T-Birds hit the road next weekend for a pair of games in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars Friday and Saturday.
Photo: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds