Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG - Two goals for the UBC Thunderbirds in the second period sealed the 4-3 win against the Manitoba Bisons on Friday night (Nov. 16) at Wayne Fleming Arena.
UBC surged ahead in the second and battled for the win in the third.
"It took us a period to get our legs and we started to do a lot of good things in the second period," said Thunderbird head coach Sven Butenschon.
"The game could've went either way and we just got a lucky bounce in the end."
The visitors led in shots with 35 to the home team's 25.
"We just found a way," said Butenschon of what made the difference. "We've been on a losing skid and we were really desperate and we had a do-whatever-it-takes mentality out there."
Maxwell James pushed UBC's lead to 3-1 in the third with a shorthanded goal just over eight minutes in. Thunderbird goalie Rylan Toth had the assist.
Jonah Wasylak snapped a wrister into the T-Birds' net for the Herd, assisted by Nick Zajac, giving Manitoba a renewed purpose. Under the penalty kill, a tape-to-tape pass from Zajac let Keaton Jameson sent the puck sailing past Toth's pads and tied the game 3-3 with a short-handed goal with just over three minutes left in the game.
Josh Connolly answered the Bison goal immediately, sending UBC back into the lead and securing them the win. The goal was assisted by Adam Rossignol and Austin Glover.
The third period was when the Herd seemed to shine, but they couldn't seal the deal.
"We had a good start and got that 1-0 lead, but in the second period, we didn't see the jump we would normally see from our team," said Bison head coach Mike Sirant.
"Our best period was the third. If we had played the full game the way we played in the third, we could've won this hockey game."
UBC surged ahead early in the second, with two goals coming in the first five minutes of play. The T-Birds came back from intermission with a calculated energy unmatched by the Bisons. Matt Revel snapped a rebound into the net on UBC's first goal. The assists went to Chase Clayton and Devan Fafard.
The Herd attempted to answer the goal quickly, with a one-on-none breakaway by Lucas Skrumeda. Manitoba struggled to get the puck on their sticks which led to an intercepted cross-ice pass by UBC. Carter Popoff chucked the puck deep into the back pocket of the Bison net after a scramble in front of the net. Revel and Clayton assisted on the goal which put the score at 2-1.
In a period dominated by penalties (five), only the home team hit the net, opening the scoring with a chip by Zach Franko from Devon Skoleski with just over 11 minutes left in the first period. UBC's penalty kill was no match for Manitoba, with every power play petered away by end-to-end play.
"We start the game tomorrow with the same urgency we showed in the third period, then we've got an opportunity to play a game," said Sirant about tomorrow's match-up.
With the win, the Thunderbirds break their three-game losing streak and improve their record to 6-5-0-. Manitoba moves to a record of 2-9-0-.
Both teams will face each other again tomorrow (Nov. 17) at the Wayne Fleming Arena. Puck drops at 1 p.m. CST. You can catch the game live online on CanadaWest.TV.