Len Catling (UBC Thunderbirds)
VANCOUVER -- On a night where goalies, goalposts, and penalty killers stole the show, the UBC women's hockey team had a bit more grit than the Regina Cougars to gain a 1-0 victory and stay alive in their Canada West playoff series.
The 'Birds and 'Cougs are now squared at a game apiece in the best-of-three matchup, setting up a 3 p.m. PT 'Sunday Showdown' at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Kathleen Cahoon (Calgary) scored early and Danielle Dube (New Westminster, B.C.) made 25 saves, some spectacular, in a game where both teams were helped by goalposts. The maintenance folks at 'The Doug' will need to re-paint the pipes after all the clanging. Toni Ross was equally skilled and thankful to the iron while in net for the Cougars. She stopped all but one of the 15 shots fired her way.
"My dad taught me this when I was younger," said Dube. "A goalpost is a save. It means you're doing your job and cutting down the angles, giving them nothing to shoot at."
Dube's dad would have been proud of his daughter tonight as she constantly thwarted Regina shooters. She not only was the best player on the ice but also the best penalty killer. Despite having seven chances Regina could not convert on the power play.
Cahoon's game winning goal came midway through the first period against the run of play. She dug the puck out of skates in the corner, weaved towards the goal and whistled a wrist shot over Ross' left shoulder. The Regina keeper seemed almost surprised Cahoon would shoot from such a sharp angle. Logan Boyd (Waterdown, Ont.) and Rebecca Unrau (Humboldt, Sask.) drew assists on what would be the game's only marker.
Both goalies and penalty killers were perfect the rest of the way. Dube was particularly nifty for the 'TBirds while robbing Cougar sharp shooters Jaycee Magwood and Kylie Gavelin, who had a dozen shots on goal between them.
Dube was beaming after the game. Not two weeks ago a gruesome collision against Manitoba saw her carted off the ice with a neck injury, leaving her season in jeopardy.
"It felt good to come back and have a strong game," said Dube. "It was a little iffy if I'd even be playing the rest of the year, but the physio staff and the trainers did a great job getting me prepared."
With Dube getting the shutout Saturday, and Ross letting in one goal on the 43 shots she's faced over two games in the series, the outcome will likely come down to which team has the hottest goalie, or which team hits the extra goalpost.
IMAGE CREDIT: Bob Frid/UBC Thunderbirds