TORONTO, ON – The UBC Thunderbirds became the first conference champions in U SPORTS since 2020 on Saturday night, when they completed the series sweep of the Saskatchewan Huskies in Vancouver.
After outplaying the Huskies in every aspect in a 4-0 Game 1 victory, the second game of the series was a closer contest for the T-Birds, with Saskatchewan playing on the front foot from the beginning, only for UBC’s defence to thwart their attacks.
Neither team could find a goal in regulation time, forcing the game to overtime and setting the stage for second-year forward Chanreet Bassi to score the 1-0 golden goal to win UBC’s first Canada West banner since 2017.
“I haven’t even seen the goal yet,” said UBC Head Coach Graham Thomas to UBC Athletics, after leading UBC to their fourth CanWest Championship. “I saw her cut to the middle, and the referee indicate it was a goal, so I look forward to looking at it; it was unreal she’s such a smart and highly skilled player who saw that pocket of ice and cut to it and drove the net hard.”
Bassi, who scored 22 points in 19 regular-season games, had never scored a playoff goal in her three years with the T-Birds before sliding the puck through Saskcthewan goaltender Camryn Drever’s legs to win Canada West gold.
“Going into [overtime] we were confident, we had the pressure on them for a couple periods and we were building up,” Bassi said post-game. “With this group, we were so confident and there was no ‘we’re going to lose.'”
The Thunderbirds peppered Drever’s goal throughout the series, sending 78 shots on target through two games, only for Drever to stop 73 of them.
While Bassi’s goal will go down in UBC women’s hockey legend, the mission is not done for the Thunderbirds and Huskies, who advance to the U SPORTS National Championship at UPEI from March 24-27.
“It’s a unique situation that athletes aren’t used to — the fact that you can lose a series and still have a bigger goal to compete for,” Saskatchewan Head Coach Steve Kook told HuskieFan.ca “Right now it’s difficult for players to process. We will do what we’ve done all year, reset and get ready to go again.”
The U SPORTS National Championships will be streamed live and free on CBC Sports.
Cover photo: Rich Lam/UBC Athletics