Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
Lethbridge – Despite being outshot 57-20, the UBC Thunderbirds completed the weekend sweep of the Lethbridge Pronghorns with a 6-4 victory.
For much of the game, the Pronghorns controlled play and limited the number of the UBC chances but the Thunderbirds made the most of their opportunities, capitalizing on odd man rushes and power play chances.
The loss is the Pronghorns sixth in a row and drops their record to 1-6-1. The Thunderbirds are streaking the other direction, winners of their last four games and move to 5-3-0.
"We've put ourselves in a tough spot now," said head coach Spiros Anastas. "This is a good league, full of teams that are opportunistic. We outshot UBC 96-46 this weekend, the difference is they capitalized and we didn't."
"We just have to learn how to be winners and right now we don't quite know how. It's a mindset, and we have two weeks to work on it before taking on the #1 team in the country."
For the second night in a row, the Thunderbirds opened the scoring. While on power play Matt Revel picked up his third of the weekend, taking a cross ice feed and beating Pronghorns goaltender Ty Edmonds blocker side.
Again on the power play, the Thunderbirds had a full two minute five-on-three advantage but Pronghorn penalty killers did an excellent job limiting the T-Birds chances and keeping the shots to the outside. When UBC was able to penetrate the Pronghorns triangle, Edmonds was in perfect position to make the save.
The Pronghorns finally were able to beat T-Birds netminder Matt Hewitt, who had a 39 save shutout Friday night. Defender Spenser Jensen drove the Thunderbirds net and was able to bang home a rebound in tight for his first of the season.
However, the deadlock didn't last long, Nick Buonassisi intercepted a Pronghorn pass and on a two-on-one, fed Chase Clayton back door for his first of the season.
Six minutes into the second, UBC upped their lead to two, Riley Gunther blocked a shot just inside his own blue line and raced away on a clear breakaway. He faked a shot then beat Edmonds five-hole.
Following the T-Birds second goal, the Pronghorns responded well, earning a power play. Off the face off to start the power play, captain Mitch Maxwell won the face off straight back to Blake Orban, who picked the top corner with a one-timer.
Despite only registering five second period shots, the Thunderbirds scored twice more before the second period to take a 5-2 lead into the third.
Austin Veterl broke in on the right side, his shot was initially stopped by Edmonds but the puck looped over Edmonds and into the back of the net and with just over three minutes to play in the period, Carter Popoff beat Edmonds five-hole from the bottom of the left circle.
Through two periods, the Pronghorns held a 32-16 shot advantage, but UBC was two-for-four with the man advantage.
Early in the third, the Pronghorns had two power play opportunities to cut into the Thunderbird lead but Hewitt remained a rock for his team. Torrin White had the best chance but his back door shot found the post.
After weathering the back-to-back Pronghorn power plays, UBC again capitalized on another one of their few opportunities. Austin Glover got into the action, taking a back door feed and beating Edmonds and that spelled the end of the night for Edmonds. Freshman Jonny Hogue came in relief to see his first action as a Pronghorn.
Dalton Sward brought the Pronghorns back within three just shy of the midway mark of the period with a seeing-eye shot from the point that beat a screened Hewitt.
On their fourth power play of the period, the Pronghorns cut into the lead again with four minutes to play to make it interesting but that would be as close as they would get. Connor Sanvido tipped home a point shot for his first of the season.
Hewitt finished with game with 53 saves and 93 total in the two Thunderbird wins. Pronghorns Ty Edmonds stopped 13 of 19 and Hogue stopped the lone shot he faced in just under 13 minutes of action.
All of Canada West hockey will be off next weekend, but the task doesn't get any easier for the Pronghorns, looking to put an end to their losing streak. In two weeks' time, the Pronghorns head to Edmonton to face the undefeated and U SPORTS top ranked Alberta Golden Bears.
The Thunderbirds will be on the road again after the bye, traveling to Saskatoon to take on the Saskatchewan Huskies.