Jeff Sargeant, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – Two goals within four minutes in the third period powered the UBC Thunderbirds to a 2-1 win over the No. 1 Manitoba Bisons Saturday afternoon at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre while picking up four out of a possible six points on the weekend and their first regulation win in seven games.
The T-Birds (5-4-2-3) outshot the Bisons (7-3-2-0) 18-10 through the first two periods but it was Manitoba who held the 1-0 lead well into the final period.
UBC finally got on the board midway through the third when Hannah Koroll stole the puck deep in the Bisons' zone and quickly fed it to a waiting Emily Costales who one-timed it from the slot past Lauren Taraschuk for her fourth of the season.
The goal gave the home team a major boost and they followed up with the eventual game winner less than four minutes later at the 14:16 mark. On their second power play of the game, a mad scramble in the Manitoba crease ended when Ashley McFadden found the loose puck, drew it back and backhanded it into the net for her third of the year.
UBC outshot the Bisons by a whopping 31-12 margin while Tory Micklash made 11 saves for her fifth win of the campaign.
"It wasn't our best game as a whole but it was that determination and being resilient and relentless, I thought we did a really good job of that tonight," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas.
UBC finished 1-for-2 on the power play while the Bisons failed to score on their only chance for the second straight night, a special teams performance that put a smile on Thomas' face.
"It was nice to see them get rewarded," said UBC's bench boss of his power play Saturday afternoon. "They've been really close, just not able to execute that final step. That was big, we really needed that tonight."
The Bisons' lone goal of the game came courtesy of Natasha Kostenko who opened scoring at the 12:44 mark of the opening frame after converting on a breakaway for her fourth of the season.
The win moves the 'Birds within three points of the defending national champion Bisons as UBC holds down sole possession of third place in the conference.
The T-Birds close out 2018 with four straight games on the road, starting next Friday night in Regina where they face the Cougars. Manitoba's loss ends a seven game win streak as the Bisons will look to get back in the win column at home next weekend when they host the Saskatchewan Huskies.
PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds