Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – On the strength of four power play goals, the UBC Thunderbirds spoiled the Lethbridge Pronghorns 2018-19 Canada West men's hockey home opener, skating away with a 6-4 victory.
Jordan Roy, Clint Filbrandt, Ryan Chynoweth and Michael Grant scored for the Pronghorns, while the Thunderbirds were paced by two goal apiece from Michael Stenerson and Carter Popoff. Adam Rossignol, Jerret Smith also scored for UBC.
Garret Hughson started in goal for the Pronghorns and he stopped 17 of 21 shots before being lifted following the Thunderbirds fifth goal. Freshman Taz Burman made 10 saves in relief. Rylan Toth turned aside 36 Pronghorn shots in the win.
After killing off an early penalty, the Thunderbirds capitalized on a power play of their own. Adam Rossignol found himself all alone in front for a tap in.
Less than two minutes later UBC would double their lead. Austin Vetterl fed a pass across on a partial two-on-one to Michael Stenerson, who tapped home his first of the season.
Following less than an ideal start for the Pronghorns, the home side cut the lead in half on a fortuitous bounce. Freshman forward Jordan Roy drove towards the net and his centering pass caromed off a T-Birds defender and past a surprised Rylan Toth, for his first Canada West goal.
Off a Pronghorn turnover in the neutral zone, Stenerson kept on a two-on-one and made no mistake beating Pronghorn goaltender Garret Hughson high glove for his second of the period.
Looking to get back into the game, the Pronghorns cut the lead back to one with an early second period goal. Clint Filbrandt patiently held the puck at the blue line and his wrist shot from just inside the point eluded Toth.
It didn't take the Thunderbirds long the regain the two goal lead. With a two man advantage, Jerret Smith beat Hughson with a one-timer from the left face-off circle and the penalties proved costly as UBC upped the lead to 5-2 only 43-seconds later.
Carter Popoff walked off the half wall and snapped a shot past Hughson for his first of the season. That goal spelled the end of the night for Hughson, who was replaced by newcomer Taz Burman.
Just past the three minute mark Popoff picked up his second of the night to put the T-Birds up 6-2 but the Pronghorns wouldn't go away quietly scoring twice in a 1:15 span.
Ryan Chynoweth deflected home Spenser Jensen's point shot at 4:47 and first-year winger Michael Grant potted his first career goal at 6:02 to cut the Thunderbirds lead to 6-4, but that would be as close as the Pronghorns would get.
The Pronghorns and Thunderbirds will square off tomorrow afternoon in a rematch. Puck drop is slated for 1:00 PM at Nicholas Sheran Arena and the game can be watched live on www.canadawest.tv.
Photo by: MPP Photography