C. J. Pentland (UBC Thunderbirds)
VANCOUVER – Two goals from Logan Boyd (Waterdown, Ont.) proved to be all the offence the UBC Thunderbirds needed on Saturday afternoon, as her marker just nine seconds into the second overtime gave UBC a 2-1 victory over the Alberta Pandas. The win comes on the heels of a 4-0 shutout victory on Friday, and put the 'Birds in a tie with the Pandas for first in the Canada West conference.
Janelle Froehler got the lone Alberta goal.
Both teams started the contest with early power plays, but neither was able to capitalize on the advantage. UBC goalie Danielle Dube (New Westminster), starting in back-to-back games after shutting out the Pandas on Friday, was the T-Birds' best penalty killer, as she made several key saves on the doorstop to keep Alberta off the board.
"She's playing really good right now," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas of Dube, who made 24 saves in the contest. "She's motivated, she's feeling healthy, she's got her confidence going … so we just want to keep supporting her and keep letting her roll."
The game remained scoreless until the 16:32 mark of the first period, when a hard pass to side of the net from former Panda Kirsten Toth (Langley, B.C.) found the stick of Boyd, who chipped it up over the left pad of Lindsey Post for the game's first goal. Alberta responded with several strong scoring chances of their own, but Dube stood tall and made 10 saves in the opening period to keep it 1-0 UBC after 20 minutes.
Alberta knotted things up at one just over three minutes into the second period, as after Dube stopped an initial shot from Alex Poznikoff, Froehler batted the puck out of mid-air into the back of the net.
UBC controlled much of the play during the remainder of the second period, but the Pandas blocked several shots and Post made nine saves in the frame to keep it 1-1.
The Pandas looked to have taken the lead midway through the third period, but the deflection that sent the puck past Dube was ruled to have come from a high stick. The remainder of the period was rarely played at 5-on-5, as both teams couldn't stay out of the penalty box, but both goalies and the penalty-killing units remained up to the challenge and helped send the game into overtime tied at one.
Overtime brought more scoring chances for both sides, and it was Boyd who eventually found the back of the net to give UBC the two points. Off the opening face-off for the 3-on-3 frame, some strong passing got the puck to Boyd, who got behind the Alberta defence and made a nifty move on Post to slide the puck across the line for the winner.
"Alberta played extremely well, and put a lot of pressure on us that took some adjusting," said Thomas. "We had some good, some bad – not saying we totally snuck out and stole [a win] – but at the same time we need to be better. So we want to enjoy the moment, but know that we've got to be better."
With the lone point, Alberta sits in a tie with UBC for top spot in the conference with 35 points. The Pandas will be back on the road next week in Regina. The Cougars are just one point back of first place.
UBC will travel to Saskatchewan next week to take on the Huskies, who are also in the mix for top spot in the conference. Puck drop in the first game of that series is at 5 p.m. PT.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds