Matthew B. Pohl, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE — UBC Thunderbird starter Amelia Boughn turned aside all 25 of the shots that came her way in a 3-0 shutout win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday afternoon, to help her team split the pair of games in Lethbridge.
With the win, the Thunderbirds negate Lethbridge's three point effort from Friday and improve to 7-3-3-3, moving to within one point of the second-place Alberta Pandas. The Pronghorns loss has them leaving the rink with a 4-10-0-2 record to close out the 2018 portion of the season.
Following the late-game heroics from Friday night's matchup, both teams came into Saturday with missions to accomplish. Lethbridge would be looking to build off of the momentum of a last-minute goal by Brett Campbell and secure their first series win in a month, and British Columbia's sights would be set on redeeming themselves after a disappointing finish to a game they controlled for most of the night.
The first half of the frame saw similar beginnings to the previous game, with both teams trading chances off the rush at either end. It would be the team from Lethbridge who would find their stride early, creating for themselves a number of in-tight chances on Thunderbirds starter Amelia Boughn.
UBC would begin to get chances on Lethbridge netminder Alicia Anderson, creating a number of good shot opportunities at the point and half-boards to Anderson's left. However, the Pronghorns would be able to clear the zone without the Thunderbirds marking a quality shot on net.
The Thunderbirds would get the game's first quality chance with just over six minutes left in the frame. A high-point slap-pass was deflected in front of Anderson, up and over her glove-side shoulder. Channeling some quick Carey-Price-like reflexes, Anderson would clear the puck with her glove over and behind the net, to turn aside the chance and keep the score tied up at zero.
A penalty to Lethbridge's Mattie Apperson with just under four minutes left in the period would see the Thunderbirds gain momentum, pressing hard in the offensive zone looking for the game's first goal. Despite having a number of very good chances in front of an undefended Anderson, UBC couldn't find a way to capitalize.
With 47-seconds left in the first, UBC's Shay-Lee McConnell would be called for holding Lethbridge forward Tricia Van Vaerenbergh, sending the Pronghorns to the power play, but were unable to capitalize. The period would end in a deadlock at zero, with the shots on goal sitting at 12-5 in favour of the Thunderbirds.
UBC would waste no time generating chances to open the second period, creating confusion in the Lethbridge end on the shorthand and generating two good blocker-side chances versus Anderson, who stopped both shots.
During her team's second power play of the period, UBC's Emily Costales would carry the puck across the crease in front of Anderson opening up the net to Anderson's left, but the Lethbridge backstop would once again come up with an amazing save, this time snagging the puck on the goal line after Costales tried to tap in her chance behind the sprawling goaltender.
Despite her outstanding performance, Anderson would see two pucks end up behind her in a span of less than two minutes, late in the second period. The first goal would come as a crashing Kenzie Robinson would go hard to the Pronghorns net, and the rebound off of Anderson's pads would find Ashley McFadden following close behind, and she would roof the puck above Anderson to break the deadlock.
The second goal would come off the stick of Rylind Mackinnon after receiving a drop-pass from Hannah Clayton-Carroll on the offensive-zone entry, and she would wire the wrister past Anderson on her glove-side, putting the Thunderbirds ahead by two goals after two periods of play. Shots on goal would remain in the visiting team's favour, 24-9.
UBC would continue their high press in the Lethbridge end, creating chances for themselves and forcing Anderson to cover the puck on a number of chances to keep the 'Horns hemmed in their zone.
Their zealous forechecking would cost them two minutes of even-strength play, as Jaedon Cooke is sent to the box for boarding Mackenzie Gal behind the Pronghorns net. Lethbridge would find a number of chances on the ensuing power-play, but UBC netminder Boughn would easily turn them aside to keep her side up by two.
The Thunderbirds would continue to press hard in the offensive zone to increase their goal buffer and secure themselves a win; Mathea Fischer would help do just that, as she would strip the puck from the Lethbridge defence behind the net of Anderson and feed Clayton-Carroll in front. Her up-close snipe over the glove of Anderson would put her team up by three.
The Thunderbirds appeared to have control of the momentum, as they held the puck in the offensive zone for more prolonged periods of time, keeping the play tied up in the Lethbridge zone. However, a careless Body Checking penalty by McFadden would put the Pronghorns on the powerplay with just under six minutes remaining in the third.
The ensuing power-play breathed life into the Lethbridge side, who were able to keep the play in the UBC end for the entire man-advantage, lasting until the ten-second mark of the remaining penalty time before a whistle was blown. Despite the surge in pressure from the Pronghorns, Lethbridge was unable to capitalize, and the home team would remain three goals down.
The remainder of the game would be spent largely in the Lethbridge zone, as the UBC Thunderbirds take game two of the weekend series, and their final game of the calendar year, by a score of 3-0. Final shots on goal were 33-25 in favour of the UBC Thunderbirds.
Now on semester break, Canada West women's hockey action will resume the first weekend of January, with the Pronghorns traveling to Regina to take on the Regina Cougars. The Thunderbirds will open the second semester at home versus the Mount Royal Cougars.