Jeff Sargeant/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds women's hockey team (5-1-1-0) earned a fifth straight win with a late third-period goal to defeat the visiting Manitoba Bisons (6-1) 3-2 Friday night at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Tied at two late in the third period, Hannah Clayton-Carroll's first of the season broke the deadlock with a wrist shot from about 20 feet out to hand the Bisons their first loss.
"It's a huge character win," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. "They're a great team, it was a great game."
The T-Birds carried much of the play early in the first period until the Bisons got the game's first power play just five minutes in. But UBC proceeded to shut down the Canada West's top man advantage all night, going a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Thunderbirds opened scoring with five minutes remaining in the first when Mathea Fischer deflected a Kelly Murray shot right in front of the crease for her third of the season.
That UBC lead lasted less than 20 seconds as the Bisons responded with Sheridan Oswald beating Thunderbirds goaltender Amelia Boughn on a strange bounce.
The T-Birds nearly re-took the lead seconds before the buzzer sounded to end the first with the puck deflecting just wide of the Manitoba goal.
Boughn made several key second period saves to keep the game tied at one with Manitoba pressing for the go-ahead goal, including a tremendous stop on Jordyn Zacharias who was sent in on a late breakaway.
But it was the T-Birds who re-took the lead at the 12:28 mark on the power play as Stephanie Schaupmeyer deflected a Cassandra Vilgrain wrister past Bisons goaltender Rachel Dyck for her first of the season.
Once again it didn't take Manitoba long to respond. This time, it was Charity Price who managed to beat Boughn on a rebound in tight tying the game again just two and a half minutes after the Thunderbirds took the lead.
The Bisons got into penalty trouble in the third but the T-Birds were unable to capitalize on three power play chances in the first eight minutes of the frame.
UBC dominated puck possession in the period but Dyck shut the door until Clayton-Carroll's game winner with 2:04 left on the clock.
"It was a big weight off my shoulders," said the second-year forward. "We didn't want to get into overtime against such a strong, competitive team. I've had a couple tough weeks so it's nice to calm down a bit, get back to the basics and I'm happy it ended with a goal."
Manitoba once again looked for a quick response as Dyck headed to the bench shortly after the ensuing faceoff for the extra attacker but UBC held on for the win pulling within a single point of the conference-leading Bisons.
"We got the momentum changed where we got closer support, started putting more pressure in on them and that's where we took over in the third period," said Thomas.
The Thunderbirds have the chance to take an outright lead in the Canada West standings with a victory over the Bisons in Saturday's rematch.
Puck drop at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre is 2 p.m. PT.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds