Jeff Sargeant/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (6-1-1-0) scored three times on the power play en route to a 6-2 win over the visiting Manitoba Bisons (6-2) Saturday afternoon, earning the weekend sweep and vaulting into first place in the Canada West standings.
The Bisons took 11 minor penalties and the T-Birds made the visitors pay while also going a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill shutting down the conference's top-ranked power play for the second straight game.
"We've been working on our power play a lot and finally it's starting to work for us," said UBC captain Stephanie Schaupmeyer who scored twice including the game winner. "Our scoring can come from any line and that's a huge advantage for our team."
Up by a goal after the first period, the Thunderbirds scored three times within a five-minute span in the second, kick started by Kathleen Cahoon's second of the season at the 6:21 mark giving UBC a two-goal lead over the Bisons for the first time this weekend.
Just over two minutes later, Hannah Clayton-Carroll deflected a Celine Tardif shot for her second of the game and third of the season to make it a 3-0 lead chasing Rachel Dyck from the Bisons' net as Amanda Schubert entered in relief.
The Bisons continued to get into trouble taking seven minor penalties through the first 40 minutes. UBC took advantage at the 11:19 mark when Alexa Ranahan scored from near the left wing boards for her second of the season giving the T-Birds a 4-0 lead.
Manitoba got on the board at 15:48 when a quick release from Erin Kucheravy beat Micklash up high from the right faceoff circle but the T-Birds carried a three-goal lead into the final period.
The third began 4-on-4 followed by a brief UBC power play which struck for the second time in the game when Haneet Parhar converted on a perfect shot for her first goal of the season, restoring UBC's four-goal lead at the 1:26 mark.
The Bisons got one back with Cassandra Taylor's first of the season at 6:24 with plenty of time left to attempt the comeback but it wasn't meant to be. Taylor made a nice tip on Jayden Skoleski's shot from the half boards on the left side.
Manitoba continued their march to the penalty box and UBC took advantage once again as Mairead Bast wristed the puck from high in the zone over top Schubert for her fourth of the season.
The T-Birds finished the game 3-for-11 on the man advantage while going perfect on the kill for the second straight game.
"We managed the puck really well," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. "We had a full team effort and executed our plan but the way we moved the puck around and used all five players on the ice was what I was most impressed with."
Micklash stopped 16 pucks for her fourth win of the season as the Thunderbirds out shot the Bisons 32-18.
UBC had 10 different skaters hit the scoresheet led by Parhar and Schaupmeyer, who had three-point games.
Schaupmeyer finished with first star honours.
"That's a strength of our team," said Thomas. "It goes to show how deep we are. They try to shut down one line or key in on certain players and another line just steps right up."
Schaupmeyer got the ball rolling early scoring her second of the season and second in as many games holding onto the puck on a 2-on-1 rush and wristing it past Dyck just 1:50 into the first period.
Several minutes later the Bisons appeared to have tied the game on their only power play chance of the period but the goal was disallowed due to the puck being contacted with a high stick before it went over Tory Micklash's right shoulder. From that point on the Thunderbirds dominated puck possession for the rest of the game.
With 20 points UBC sits two points ahead of the second place Bisons and have now won six straight.
The Thunderbirds will look to extend their winning streak next weekend with a pair of games in Lethbridge against the Pronghorns. Manitoba will host the Calgary Dinos next weekend at Wayne Fleming Arena.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds