EDMONTON (from UBC Thunderbirds) – The UBC Thunderbirds (14-5-5-4) headed to overtime for the second consecutive night and the fourth time in the past five games but ended up on the wrong side of the score Saturday afternoon, falling 2-1 to the Alberta Pandas (13-5-6-4) in the Canada West women’s hockey regular season finale.
Autumn MacDougall (Dartmouth, N.S.) scored at 1:39 of double overtime for Alberta, while Kirsten Chamberlain (Cochrane, Alta.) stopped 12 of 13 shots for the victory. Amy Boucher (Edmonton) also lit the lamp for the Pandas, her 10th of the year and on her 22nd birthday.
Kathleen Cahoon (Calgary) scored the lone Thunderbirds goal while UBC goaltender Amelia Boughn (Toronto) made 21 saves in a losing cause.
“We didn’t play our best, most consistent hockey this weekend,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas, whose team will finish out of the top two and without a first-round playoff bye for the first time in four seasons. “We’re disappointed we didn’t get a little bit more in some of those tight games but at the end of the day we’re excited about the playoffs and our team and the potential we have, we just have to come mentally prepared to do it.”
The Pandas once again came out of the gates on Saturday afternoon like a house on fire, dominating the offensive zone, but were only able to collect six shots on goal. Much like Friday night, the Thunderbirds weathered the onslaught by blocking shots and congesting passing lanes in front of Boughn.
Cahoon opened the scoring for UBC at 7:50 of the second period when she skated along the inside of the blue line and fired a shot three feet off of the ice through a screen for her third of the season.
Momentum from the goal carried over into the third period as the pace of the game picked up and Thunderbirds defenders snuffed out two Alberta power plays.
“Both our goaltenders battled so hard this weekend and played great,” said Thomas who praised both Boughn and Tory Micklash who made 20 saves in Friday night’s overtime win. “Their mental prep, how they come ready to play every game is inspiring and we need to play for them, come ready and give them the same level of effort in front of them.”
The stats heavily favored UBC carrying a lead into the third but that didn’t matter to Boucher who stepped over the boards and drove towards the net. The Edmonton native cut across the slot and ripped a wrist shot, beating Boughn low on the blocker side.
Both teams traded chances, bumps, bruises and blocked shots for the rest of the third and first period of overtime.
Thunderbirds forward Hannah Clayton-Carroll (Vancouver) had a glorious chance to end it early in the second OT as she snuck in alone behind the defence but put the puck right into Chamberlain. Only moments later, Poznikoff led a two-on-one give-and-go and connected with MacDougall for the easy tap in along the ice.
The two teams split the season series for the third time since 2012-13.
The overtime loss combined with a Saskatchewan Huskies win over the Mount Royal Cougars drops the ‘Birds to third place. UBC will play host to Mount Royal for next weekend’s Canada West best-of-three quarterfinal series.