Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - Down 3-2 to the host Alberta Golden Bears in the third period, the UBC Thunderbirds scored twice in the final six minutes, stealing a 4-3 win on Friday night at Clare Drake Arena.
Raymond Grewal scored his first of the season with five minutes left, before Maxwell James potted the game-winner 1:56 later, as the Thunderbirds snapped their two-game losing streak.
Chase Clayton and Austin Vetterl also scored for UBC, while Rylan Toth stopped 34 of the 37 shots he faced in a fantastic performance. Golden Bears starter Zach Sawchenko made 17/21 saves, in a game that was largely dominated by Alberta, incluidng 37-21 on the shot clock.
Steven Owre, Taylor Cooper and Brandon Magee scored for Alberta, who led three separate times. UBC, however, responded each time with tallies of their own, before the James game-winner late in the third. The Thunderbirds also leap the Bears in the standings, improving to 5-2-0, while Alberta slips to 4-3-0.
Coming off back-to-back overtime wins over Mount Royal, the Golden Bears opened Friday's game as the better team,with Owre opening the scoring nine minutes in. Off a cross-ice feed from Ryan Rehill, Owre quickly tapped in his second goal of the season between Toth's pads.
In a game that was built up as a battle between two of the best special teams units in Canada West, each side went 0-2 on their respective power plays. The Thunderbirds did, however, get a shorthanded goal, which came early in the second period to tie the score. Tanner Faith sprung Clayton for a breakaway, who deftly beat Sawchenko low blocker.
It didn't take Alberta long to respond, as Cooper blasted a wrister past Toth just five minutes later.
UBC's ability to respond, however, came forward once again, as Vetterl beat Sawchenko in tight just 24 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2.
In his first game of the season, Magee's strong play finally resulted in a goal, as he took a feed from Cooper in the slot, and snapped a bullet over the shoulder of Toth.
Once again, UBC quickly tied the game. Off a broken play in the Alberta zone, Grewal fired a quick back-hand spinning shot from the slot, that surprised Sawchenko and beat the sophomore goalie. James once again took advantage of sloppy Alberta play in their own zone, beating the Bears goalie after he lost an edge in his own crease.
The two teams will finish up their two-game series tomorrow night, with the rubber match scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Edmonton.