VANCOUVER, BC – If Friday was about taking advantage of opportunities, then Saturday was about burying your opponent with overwhelming chances for the UBC Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds did not go quietly into the night, storming to a 5-1 win over the Mount Royal Cougars to even the Canada West championships at one game apiece. It was a clinical display from the hosts on the brink of elimination, showing exactly why they have been ranked as the number-one team in the country.
Kaitlyn Ross, who stood on her head for 60 minutes last game, was solved within 5 on Saturday. Hannah Koroll’s first of the playoffs came from a brilliant Mackenzie Kordic dish off the left boards, firing it home in tight to give the T-Birds an early advantage.
The Thunderbirds continued to press, nearly doubling their lead halfway through the second, though the tally was waved off due to goaltender interference. However, they wouldn’t have long to wait as just before the second came to a close, Joelle Fiala jammed home a rebound on the powerplay to give UBC a 2-0 lead.
In the third, UBC finally managed to open the floodgates. About halfway through the frame, Chanreet Bassi blasted home a slapshot on the powerplay to put the T-Birds up by three. Merely 52 seconds later, Mia Bierd finished a 2-on-1 opportunity to secure a 4-0 lead. Korroll would wrap up UBC’s scoring on the night two minutes later with yet another powerplay marker.
Elise Hugens nearly remained perfect, but it was Aliya Jomha burying a loose puck off a broken faceoff play to put the Cougars on the board just 32 seconds after the 5-0 goal. It was just too little, too late in a game that had the ice tilted entirely in favour of UBC. The final shot totals were 42-10 for the Thunderbirds.
With the emphatic victory, the defending champions draw level in the series to push it to a deciding game 3. The Cougars will be licking their wounds, hoping for some magic on Sunday to secure their very first CanWest title. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds would love to defend their crown and deliver on the momentum they created through a dominant result.
It’s a fresh slate with all to play for on Sunday. Both teams might have secured a berth to the U Sports dance, but only one team can walk away as the Canada West champion. Game three gets underway at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre with a 3 PM puck drop.