Thomas Guenther (UBC Athletics)
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds women's hockey team suffered a 1-0 loss to the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday afternoon in Vancouver, giving the visitors a two-game sweep in the first weekend series of Canada West women's hockey action for both squads.
A goal by defenceman Jocelyn Sabourin at 15:37 of the third period was all the offence Lethbridge needed to earn the win, and cap off a four-point weekend for both her and the team. Sabourin got three assists in Friday's game.
Lethbridge forward Aislinn Kooistra corralled a loose puck at the right boards and was able to elude UBC pressure to swing it back towards the middle of the ice, where Sabourin was open to step into a shot from the blue line. The puck eluded a block attempt and found its way through traffic past UBC goaltender Samantha Langford (Pense, Sask.).
Langford said afterward that there was a bit of a screen, which would have hindered her reaction.
"There were a couple tips on the way through, but it was the end of a long game and few things went wrong. We couldn't bounce back today."
The Thunderbirds dominated possession time and shots on goal, 31-19, but Lethbridge goaltender Alicia Anderson stopped every shot she saw to earn her first shutout at the university level.
"We managed the puck a lot better on our break-outs and controlled the play," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. "We had the puck in their end the whole weekend. We out shot them. We had a lot of time in their zone."
The Thunderbirds began their assault early. In the first, defenceman Kelly Murray (Medicine Hat, Alta.) threw a shot at the net, the rebound fell toward Kathleen Cahoon (Calgary) who swiped at the bouncing puck but missed.
Laura Traschel, the rookie from Switzerland, picked up a loose puck in the UBC zone and flew along the boards past three Lethbridge players. She swooped in on goaltender Alicia Anderson and snapped a low shot from the hash marks, but Anderson caught and absorbed the shot.
Midway through the second, Haneet Parhar (West Vancouver) stole the puck from Lethbridge in the neutral zone and skated in, but lifted the puck high over Anderson.
Despite every effort, the women couldn't beat Anderson. Even in the last two minutes of the game. The 'Horns got a tripping penalty and Thomas pulled Langford to give the 'Birds a 6-on-4 advantage. Logan Boyd (Waterdown, Ont.) let loose a missile on net, but Anderson caught it out of the air. Even with six players hacking away at the net, nothing would go through.
All five goals against UBC this weekend were scored on the power play.
Thomas said penalty killing would absolutely be on the practice regiment his week.
"We made adjustments and we were better today than yesterday. As far as what we can control, our penalty kill, we need to work on it."
He wasn't worried about his team however.
"It's early on in the season and we've got to have patience."
The Thunderbirds play next Friday and Saturday in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars. Lethbridge will head to Edmonton for a two-game series against the Alberta Pandas.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds