Written by: Ryan Stelter
WINNIPEG – The University of Manitoba women's hockey team took to the ice against the #9 University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the first of a two-game series. With playoff implications on the line for the Bisons, they were unable to come up with the win and fell 4-2 to UBC at home on Friday, February 12.
With the loss, Manitoba falls to 12-13-0-2 and lose their chance at hosting a home playoff series. British Columbia temporarily moves into first in the Canada West with a record of 13-8-3-3.
Special teams would be the story of the night, as two power play goals in the third period from the Thunderbirds was enough to see them get the win.
The Thunderbirds would be the first to strike at the 17:34 mark of the opening frame after Kelly Murray drove the net hard and Kathleen Cahoon was able to slot home at the back door.
Neither team was able to generate a lot of offence aside from their power plays, lots of miscued passes and odd man rushes. UBC had the lead in shots on goal and on the scoreboard heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, both teams traded power plays in the early going but were again, unable to capitalize. Thunderbird goaltender Danielle Dube made some key stops in the second period, stymieing Bison forward Erica Rieder on two occasions. Her best save of the period perhaps came when Alana Serhan was alone in the slot on a 2-on-1 and Dube was there to flash the leather to keep it 1-0 for UBC.
Bison goalie Rachel Dyck was not about to be outdone, however, as she made a couple big saves of her own, including a marvelous kick save on UBC forward Katie Zinn in the slot.
A scoreless second period had the Thunderbirds maintaining their one-goal lead heading into the third period.
It took the Bisons 38 seconds into the third period to draw level as Rieder finally managed to get on the score sheet after shelving one home on a shorthanded breakaway. UBC came right back, forcing Dyck to throw her leg out to make a fantastic pad save to keep the scores level.
Manitoba would gain the lead on the power play after Alanna Sharman fed Finnish international Venla Hovi a pass in the slot, who managed to shoot across her body and finish blocker side on Dube. The lead would not last long for the Bisons, as Cahoon scored her second goal of the night after a scramble in Manitoba's crease to make the score 2-2.
The Thunderbirds would regain the lead seconds later when Cahoon completed her hat trick at the midway mark of the third. On a 5-on-3 power play, she walked out from the half boards to fire a low, hard shot past Dyck. With the hat trick, Cahoon is now leading her team with 14 goals.
UBC would double their lead a few minutes later when on the power play, Kirsten Toth had a point shot go off the post and into the back of the net.
Manitoba pushed hard for an equalizer in the dying minutes but were unable to come up with the two goals to tie the game. Dube made 21 saves in the win.
The two teams will play a rematch in the final game of the Canada West regular season at the Wayne Fleming Arena on Saturday, February 13 at 1 p.m. CST.
MAN: Erica Rieder (1G), Venla Hovi (1G)
UBC: Kathleen Cahoon (3G), Kelly Murray (2A)