Len Catling, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – It took almost two and half periods, but the UBC Thunderbirds (12-5-3-4) finally managed to get a puck past Saskatchewan Huskies' (9-8-5-2) goaltender Jessica Vance, as the 'Birds shutout the 'Dawgs 2-0 at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The game pitted the third place Thunderbirds against the fourth place Huskies and the 'Birds ended the two-game, weekend series with two shutout victories by goaltender Tory Micklash.
Ireland Perrott tallied unassisted and Kenzie Robinson on the power play, as UBC did all their scoring in the final period to take a stranglehold on third place in the Canada West standings.
"It was a classic, hard fought Canada West matchup with excellent goaltending on both sides," said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. "I'm pleased how our team stuck with the process and were able to cash in on our opportunities in the third period."
The first two periods were essentially a goaltender's duel between Vance and Micklash. Vance was the much busier of the two goalies, as her 23 saves through the first two frames ranged from good to downright spectacular. Micklash was equally poised between the pipes for UBC, turning aside all 13 shots she faced.
It took more than 47 minutes of hockey before Perrott opened the scoring for the 'Birds. After a spirited rush into the Saskatchewan zone by Logan Boyd, Perrott picked up a loose puck along the boards and moved into the high slot before firing a wrist shot over the left shoulder of a screened Vance.
UBC's second goal was a thing of beauty on the power play, as Robinson executed the business end of a designed passing play with Hannah Koroll. Koroll made a nice move at the point to find some open ice, before firing a hard pass right on to Robinson's tape in the slot. Robinson one-timed the pass, up and over the glove hand of Vance.
"We've been working on that play all week in practice," explained Robinson. "My job is to get a good grip on my stick and direct it hard on net. Hopefully good things will happen."
UBC's weekend sweep over the Huskies gave them some much needed momentum heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
"We just have to keep on building on our offence and our power-play," added Thomas. "We do that and we'll be rolling, we'll be dangerous heading into next weekend's huge series with Manitoba."
The Thunderbirds travel to Manitoba to take on the high powered Bisons next Friday, while Saskatchewan heads to Mount Royal for a two game set versus the Cougars.
PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds