Willoughby scores OT winner over UBC

Willoughby scores OT winner over UBC

Nicole Betker, University of Saskatchewan

SASKATOON -  Fourth-year forward Kaitlin Willoughby tallied just nine seconds into overtime to lift the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 5-4 over the No. 1 ranked UBC Thunderbirds Saturday night at Rutherford Rink.

Huskie captain Lauren Zary won the opening faceoff in the five-minute overtime period. Willoughby gained control of the puck and quickly skated into the T-Birds zone. Her one-timer hit the top of the net. 

With the win, the Huskies improve to 12-7-3. The T-Birds drop to 18-3-1. It was the second straight night the teams played to overtime. A night earlier, UBC won 2-1 in double overtime.

Saskatchewan is one of three teams to defeat UBC in 2016-17 and the only team to do it twice. The Huskies won 5-3 on October 8th in Vancouver.

Rachel Johnson opened the scoring at 9:24 in the first period after knocking in a quick pass in front of the net stick side on UBC netminder Amelia Boughn.

Saskatchewan took the 2-0 lead after a UBC turnover in their offensive zone. Emily Upgang intercepted the errant puck and shot it into the net above Boughn at 14:35. 

Kori Herner gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead at 2:12 in the second period when her shot went above Boughn's shoulder from a rebound on the power play.  Just 33 seconds later, UBC cut the lead to two on a Kelly Murray goal. After the UBC won the puck along the boards, Murray floated the puck toward Cassidy Hendricks and it deflected into the net.

The teams combined for four goals in the final frame.

Friday night's overtime hero Nicole Saxvik pulled the T-Birds within one goal at 7:44 in the third when she was left alone in front of the net. Her quick shot beat Hendricks glove side.

Bailee Bourassa once again put the Huskies ahead by two after a rebound trickled to her at the side of the net at 13:04 in the third. But just a minute later, UBC caught the Huskies on a line change and a quick shot by Saxvik slipped by Hendricks at 14:01.

UBC tied the game with under four minutes left. Hannah Clayton-Carroll shot from the top of the faceoff circle sailed by Hendricks at 16:07.

Hendricks finished the night making 17 saves for the Huskies, while Boughn stopped 21 for the T-Birds at the other end of the ice. 

The Huskies will face provincial rival the Regina Cougars in a home-and-home series next weekend, while the T-Birds return home to host the Lethbridge Pronghorns.