Difficult weekend for the T-Birds

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Thunderbirds split physical series with Cougars

Over the weekend, the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team headed to Saskatchewan for a two-game series against the University of Regina Cougars.

On Friday night, the Cougars opened the scoring late in the first period. Third-year winger Turner Ripplinger carried the puck up the ice and looked off his passing option to beat Rylan Toth on the blocker side.

Regina continued their control of the game, and under two minutes later they went up 2–0 after a giveaway by UBC goaltender Toth behind his net. The game marked Toth’s first since his emergency call-up to the Vancouver Canucks last weekend.

In the second period, the T-Birds appeared to have garnered some momentum early, but it was stripped away just over three minutes in as Regina forward Tanner Nagel buried a rebound past Toth to give the Cougars a 3–0 lead.

UBC was handed another opportunity to shift the tides of the game a few minutes later as Chris Douglas was awarded a penalty shot, but the T-Birds rookie was unable to capitalize.

Carson Miller would get UBC on the board before the end of second, but the hole was already too deep. Despite a Jake Kryski goal in the third, the T-Birds couldn’t stay consistent on defense and were beaten with a final score of 5–2.

The following day, UBC head coach Sven Butenschoen decided to change things up in goal, giving star goaltender Toth a much-needed rest.

Rookie netminder Ethan Anders made his second start of the season as the T-Birds looked to prove that yesterday’s game was a fluke. The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the opening frame, with goals from Scott Atkinson and Douglas.

In one of the game’s many momentum shifts however, Victoria-born Cougars rookie Tanner Sidaway tied the game early in the second period with two goals of his own. The two teams traded goals before the end of the frame, heading into the final 20 minutes tied 3–3.

With under seven minutes to play, UBC’s Douglas spun through the Regina defense and created a rebound off of Cougars goalie Brandon Holtby. With his sixth goal of the season, Tian Rask jumped on the rebound back door and put the T-Birds up 4-3.

With a few key stops from Anders in the final minutes, UBC held on for the victory improving to 12-3-1 on the season.

Next weekend the team is on the road once again, facing off against the Mount Royal University Cougars.

Weekend split from women’s hockey

The T-Birds faced a depleted the Univeristy of Calgary Dinos team on Friday and came out on top 3–2, with goaltender Elise Hugens making 22 saves to win their first game of 2022.

Rylind MacKinnon opened the scoring for the T-Birds at 6:13, bringing her to eight goals on the season as she took a pass from Joelle Fiala at the blue line, danced in on the left side and fired through a screen.

Later in the period, there was a scramble in front of the T-Birds net that ended with Dinos forward Holly Reuther finding the puck after it hit a post and shoveling it in behind Hugens to tie the game.

Halfway through the second frame, Dinos forward Elizabeth Lang brought down T-Birds defender Hannah Koroll and goaltender Hugens while taking the puck to the net. The puck crossed the line as the players were down, but the goal was soon waved off.

The T-Birds controlled the pace for the second half of the period and were rewarded with a goal as Chanreet Bassi roofed the puck short side from in tight. However, it took only 28 seconds for the Dinos to respond, with Rachel Paul tying the game of a big rebound. The period ended tied 2–2.

Early in the third, the T-Birds capitalized off their fourth power play of the game with a point shot from Hannah Koroll that made it through a maze of bodies to put the T-Birds up 3–2, in what would be the game -winning goal.

The Dinos picked up steam late in the game with several power play chances, forcing Hugens to make some big saves, but ultimately she brought the T-Birds out on top with a 22-save performance.

The next day, however, the Dinos shutout the T-Birds with a 5–0 win and resulted in a weekend split for the T-Birds.

The T-Birds will host the Mount Royal University this Friday and Saturday to reclaim another victory.

Women’s volleyball falls to current first in conference

This past weekend, the T-Birds tried to claim another victory against the Trinity Western University Spartans this season, but lost both games in doubleheader.

Back on November 28 of last year, UBC became the only team to have beat Trinity Western University this season, who is currently ranked No. 1 in Canada West’s western division standings with a 6–1 record.

The first two points of the game went to the Spartans, before an ace by the Spartans put UBC’s first point on the board. The T-Birds quickly took the lead — and kept it for most of the set — to win the first set by 7 points.

The second set started in a similar fashion — the Spartans took the first two points, while UBC took the third to set the score at 2–1. But this period was much more intense, with players sending the ball into the rafters of War Memorial Gym — and almost into the audience.

This time, UBC did not take the lead, though, and Trinity Western continued to build theirs to 4–1 before the T-Birds earned their next point and almost caught up to the Spartans before a service error by a master’s student and outside hitter Elise Petit set the score at 5-3.

The Spartans retained and built on that lead until the scoreboard read 11–6 before the T-Birds made another comeback, with a kill by third-year outside hitter Cara Kovacs tying up the score, 12–12.

From there, UBC took the lead, 13–12, but the Spartans would not allow the T-Birds to take another set. After tying the score at 18–18, multiple errors on the part of the T-Birds allowed the Spartans to take the second set with a six point lead, 25–19.

Trinity Western again took the first point of the third set, but a kill by Kovacs set the score to 1–1. However, the Spartans weren’t coming down from the high of the previous set, bringing the score 5–1 before the T-birds scored their second point of the set.

The T-Birds kept the set close after that, stepping up their game in the latter part of the third set to tie the score at 17–17. The crowd was buzzing when UBC took the lead, 21–20, with two kills by Kovacs and third-year setter Kayla Oxland. However, a service error by first-year libero Victoria D’Acre set the score back at a tie, and TWU regained their lead with a kill from the Spartans.

UBC did not recover, but the third set was their closest yet, 25-22 in favor of TWU.

The energy from both the players and spectators remained electric into the fourth set. However, although the T-Birds played a good set, the Spartans held the lead for the entirety of it, save for a 4–4 tie early on.

The T-Birds will recover during their bye week before heading on the road against the Fraser Valley Cascades on February 11 and 12.

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