Rachel Villari (UBC Athletics)
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds suffered a hard defeat at the hands of the visiting Manitoba Bisons, losing 4-1 Saturday afternoon at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
The loss snaps their five-game winning streak, dropping the team's conference record to 4-3-1-0, third in the Canada West standings.
Manitoba got goals from Erica Rieder, Nicole Carswell, Celine Caron and Alanna Sharman to improve to 3-5.
Kathleen Cahoon (Calgary) notched UBC's lone goal.
"I thought today's game was a little frustrating," said head coach Graham Thomas, following the loss. "We didn't get a lot of puck luck early on even though we came out flying. They jumped on some really nice opportunities and got some bounces."
The Thunderbirds special teams were faced with the daunting task of trying to stop an impressive Manitoba offence laced with the returning CIS Rookie of the Year, a Finnish Olympian and an NCAA transfer. Unfortunately, they were unable to hold fast as the Bisons went 1-for-3 on the power play and topped it all off with a short-handed goal.
Like yesterday's game, all of the scoring was done in the first half of the game. The 'Birds were able to come out strong in the third but couldn't add to their offensive output.
Manitoba's first goal came on the power play at 6:41. Ex-NCAA athlete Karissa Kirkup and Alana Serhan found Rieder, who beat fifth-year goaltender Samantha Langford (Pense, Sask.) for the first of two goals in the opening frame.
Less than four minutes later, Carswell, responsible for Manitoba's only goal last night against the T-Birds, netted her second of the series at 10:37. Credited with the game winner on Saturday, Carswell now has three points this season, two of which were collected against UBC this weekend.
Serhan got her second assist of the night on Caron's goal at 2:19 of the second period.
Third-year forward Cahoon broke Manitoba goaltender Rachel Dyck's shutout bid just over a minute later, with fourth-year forward Katie Zinn (Coquitlam, B.C.) getting the assist.
Returning CIS Rookie of the Year Alanna Sharman netted a shorthanded goal at 7:03 to round out the scoring.
"The outcome is kind of frustrating, but I think that there are some really good positives to take out of it," said Coach Thomas. "I'm really happy with our response in the third period. We really came out and it really looked like we could play three more periods like that and we had a lot of momentum. We executed our adjustments really well and did a good job of using our speed and playing our game again and getting pressure on them and making smarter plays."
The Thunderbirds hit the road, hoping to sweep the Regina Cougars next weekend, creating some distance between the two teams. Puck drop at Friday in Saskatchewan is set for 6 p.m. PT, with a rematch the following day at the same time.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds