Jeff Sargeant/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds are headed to a third and deciding game in their Canada West semifinal series with Saskatchewan after the Huskies earned a 1-0 win in a do-or-die Game 2 Saturday night at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
In a near repeat of Game 1's limited offence, neither team was able to generate much by way of quality scoring chances as Cassidy Hendricks was full value for the shutout win, making 23 saves and earning the game's first star honours.
The only goal came just 2:56 into the first period when Rachel Johnson scored her first of the post-season, picking up a Bailee Bourassa rebound, the only puck to get by Amelia Boughn who finished with 17 saves.
"We just didn't want it as bad as they wanted it plain and simple," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas.
"We needed to be better. Our best players weren't our best players and it was a frustrating game."
The T-Birds called their time-out with 2:27 remaining in the third after which Boughn stayed on the bench for the extra attacker. In the dying seconds, UBC nearly tied the game but the puck took a nasty bounce when Melissa Goodwin was trying to complete a one-timer in tight, which went just wide.
For the second straight game, UBC finished 0-for-2 on the power play while killing off all three Saskatchewan chances.
Now both teams face elimination with game three set for 3 p.m. PT Sunday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. The winner will face the Alberta Pandas in the Canada West Final beginning next Friday while also earning a berth to the U SPORTS national championship tournament in Kingston, Ont.
"We've got confidence that we play well under pressure and in situations like this," said Thomas reiterating his belief in his veteran group.
"We were taking things for granted and thinking things were going to be easy. We've learned that lesson and we're going to respond tomorrow."
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds