Power play powers ‘Birds to second straight shut out win over Lethbridge

Power play powers ‘Birds to second straight shut out win over Lethbridge

Jeff Sargeant/UBC Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (17-3-3-1) scored three times on the power play Saturday blanking the Lethbridge Pronghorns (3-17-1-3) for the second straight game with a 3-0 win at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

Tory Micklash made 17 saves for her second shut out of the season while UBC now needs just four more points to secure first place in the Canada West standings.

After struggling on the man advantage Friday night, the T-Birds executed on a re-invigorated power play Saturday finishing the game 3-for-9 while killing off all three Pronghorn opportunities. UBC dominated from start to finish outshooting Lethbridge 17-2 in the first period alone and 36-17 overall.

"We had better focus tonight, we were sharper and we were back to playing our game, it felt right again," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas who dressed only 16 skaters Saturday due to continuing injury woes.

"I'm really proud of the girls on their resiliency and battling through adversity."

After running into another stellar goaltending performance, this time courtesy of Jessica Lohues, UBC finally managed to open scoring with just 18 seconds left in the first period when Nicole Saxvik scored on the power play. The puck bounced off Stephanie Schaupmeyer's skate while Saxvik picked up the loose puck for her team-leading 12th of the season. Shiayli Toni earned the second assist.

The T-Birds doubled their lead on another man advantage at the 8:30 mark of the second when Celine Tardif's shot from high in the zone found its way through traffic and past Lohues for her second of the season. Hannah Clayton-Carroll and Melissa Goodwin picked up the helpers.

"It was a huge weekend for us to gain some momentum back," said Saxvik who now has 23 points on the season, third in the Canada West scoring race.

"We really trusted our systems this game and got back to hard work and determination. We were really relentless and it paid off."

The T-Birds take their conference leading record back on the road heading to Regina for a pair of games against the Cougars Friday and Saturday before finishing the regular season at home against the Mount Royal Cougars the following weekend.

Lethbridge will host the Alberta Pandas next weekend. The 'Horns will travel to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies to conclude the 2016-17 Canada West season.

IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds