Jeff Sargeant/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – Kathleen Cahoon's late third period power-play goal stood up as the game winner for the UBC Thunderbirds (9-1-2-0) who earned a 3-2 victory over the visiting Regina Cougars (5-6-1-0) to make it 10 straight wins.
The No. 1-ranked T-Birds broke open a 1-1 tie with a pair of third period power play tallies from Cahoon and Nicole Saxvik while hanging on to earn the weekend sweep and gain a seven-point lead atop the Canada West standings.
"We don't really talk about (the win streak)," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. "I know we're off to an unbelievable start but we're still sticking to the process. We showed a lot of character today, a lot of second efforts, a lot of bench energy cheering each other on which really helped lift us up in the end."
As was the case Saturday, the Cougars played a very physical, aggressive game that led to nine UBC power plays. But Regina's penalty kill prevented the T-Birds from blowing the game open while Jane Kish made 31 saves in the loss. UBC finished the game 2-for-9 on the power play while killing off four of Regina's five opportunities.
Amelia Boughn made 17 saves for her sixth win of the season.
Haneet Parhar opened scoring for the Thunderbirds with just over four minutes remaining in the first with her seventh of the season deflecting a Cahoon shot. Logan Boyd picked up the second assist on the play.
The UBC lead didn't last long as the Cougars scored their first short-handed goal of the season with just 27 seconds remaining in the period thanks to Jaycee Magwood. She took the puck in her own end and skated into the UBC zone. From outside the right faceoff circle, Magwood attempted a pass across the ice a streaking Kylee Kupper. However, the pass was blocked, and the puck bounced right back to Magwood, who skated into the slot with it and beat Boughn glove side with her shot.
Regina's penalty troubles continued in the second but the T-Birds went 0-for-3 on the power play in the period while the Cougars failed to convert on their lone opportunity as neither team could find the back of the net again until the final frame.
Early in the third the Thunderbirds found themselves on yet another man advantage and at the 3:52 mark, Mairead Bast wristed the puck from high in the slot through traffic and it was tipped by Saxvik and past Kish for her fifth of the season giving UBC a 2-1 lead.
Then with just under three minutes remaining, Cahoon gave the T-Birds their first two-goal lead of the game scoring her seventh of the season on yet another power play from Bast and Kelly Murray.
But the Cougars refused to go away and made good on a late power-play chance of their own after Stephanie Schaupmeyer was called for a cross-checking penalty in the final minute. Pulling Kish for the 6-on-4 advantage, Regina pulled within one as Merissa Zerr deflected the puck in for her first of the season with just 16 seconds remaining.
After the ensuing face off the Cougars again went with the empty net for the extra attacker but the T-Birds ate the puck along the boards and held on until the final buzzer.
"A lot of our girls are playing through bumps and bruises right now and some through more serious injuries so it's really impressive to see that toughness come through tonight," said Thomas.
"We are built on resilience and relentlessness and we really showed our character and it was a really good character win throughout because it was such a chippy game," added Cahoon, who earned the game's first star with a goal and an assist giving the fourth-year forward eight points in the last three games. "It's nice to get things going again after a bit of a slow start," said Cahoon. "I have line mates and coaches and everyone behind me and encouraging me and it's been a great support system."
Despite the 10-game win streak, Cahoon insists the team's success will not change their approach.
"Our team has been working hard all season and it's a testament to that. We're not letting it get to our heads we're just sticking to what's been working for us and we're just going to keep doing that."
The win marked UBC's final home game until January with the T-Birds back on the road next Friday and Saturday, November 25th and 26th, visiting the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary.
Regina will also face opposition from Calgary next weekend, as the Cougars will host the Dinos.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam