Cougars best T-Birds to open weekend series in Regina - petsitterbank

Cougars best T-Birds to open weekend series in Regina

REGINA, Sask. – The UBC Thunderbirds attempted to mount a late comeback after falling down 3-0 in the second period, but the host Regina Cougars proved to be a resilient bunch, never letting the visitors get more than a sniff in a 5-2 decision Friday night at the Cooperators Centre.

Carson Miller gave the ‘Birds (11-3-1) a boost late in the second with his third of the season to get UBC within two heading into the final frame, but the Cougars (8-8-1) added two more of their own in the third as the T-Birds dropped their second in a row in regulation for the first time all season.

“Regina’s had a good season this year, they’ve beaten Saskatchewan, Alberta, Calgary, they have it in them to win games in our league against some good teams,” said UBC Head Coach Sven Butenschon following the disappointing start to the weekend series. “It’s their last home weekend for the year, they have something extra to play for and then we gifted them some goals early on and we just couldn’t find our game.”

Ryan Pouliot at Regina, Jan 11, 2020

Entering the weekend on a three game losing skid, the Cougars came out of the gates an inspired squad, staking out a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals less than two minutes apart from Turner Ripplinger and Conner Chaulk.

The Cougars added to their lead just 3:22 into the second when Tanner Nagel scored his first of two on the night, pouncing on a rebound off a Mike Eskra shot.

shortly after, Chris Douglas was hauled down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. But Brandon Holtby, who picked up his sixth win of the season Friday, denied the rookie’s bid for his ninth of the year.

UBC finally got on the board late in the second when Miller banged home a rebound off a Liam Kindree shot from the slot for his third of the campaign, giving the ‘Birds some much needed life heading into the final period.

But the resilient Cougars restored their three goal lead on a gift of a goal just 71 seconds into the third with Nagel credited with his second of the game and eighth of the season. UBC netminder Rylan Toth was on the bench for the extra attacker on a delayed Regina penalty, but the puck was errantly played into the open net.

Tyler Sandhu vs Calgary, Jan 22, 2022

Jake Kryski did get one back for the ‘Birds five minutes into the period with his fifth of the season, but UBC failed to close the gap any further as Tyler Heidt restored Regina’s three-goal lead for good at the 9:54 mark.

“We have to bring our work ethic up, we have to be able to bring more pace,” Butenschon insisted after his team dropped consecutive games by multiple goals for the first time this season. “At the beginning of the year we would skate teams into the ground and by the third period the dam would break. We’d have a lot of success later in games and it was because we played with a lot of pace and tempo. We ‘re not seeing that right now.”

UBC’s loss combined with an Alberta win over Calgary Friday night saw the ‘Birds fall out of first place in the conference, now two points back of the Golden Bears and two points ahead of the third place Dinos.

The good news for UBC is their opportunity to get back in the win column comes quickly as they take on the Cougars once again Saturday afternoon, the final regular season meeting between the two teams.

Puck drop at the Cooperators Center is 1:00 pm PT.

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