Thunderbirds sweep Pandas in women’s hockey

UBC women’s hockey swept the University of Alberta Pandas at home this weekend, with a double overtime 3–2 win and a 2–1 regulation win to continue their undefeated-at-home streak.

On Friday night, the Pandas started off the scoring. Four minutes into the first period, they scored with a rebound goal that snuck past UBC goaltender Elise Hugens to put them up 1–0.

The strength of the Pandas' team challenged the ‘Birds. Sitting at second and first, respectively, in the standings heading into the weekend, the game was full of energy. Scoring chances were abundant for the Thunderbirds, but Alberta’s speed and physicality shut them down.

The Thunderbirds kept the offensive pressure for most of the second period, but thanks to the numerous blocked shots, nothing got past Pandas goaltender Halle Oswald until the 18th minute of play. Sophia Gaskell ripped a shot from the blue line and found the back of the net. The second-year defender scored again from almost the same spot, just a minute later as the buzzer rang, giving UBC a 2–1 lead going into the third period.

Overtime goal-scoring forward Joelle Fiala.
Overtime goal-scoring forward Joelle Fiala. Isabella Falsetti / The Ubyssey

The game was looking in the T-Birds’ favour until a tripping penalty put Alberta on the power play and they easily made it a 2–2 game. Despite this, the ‘Birds stayed collected and forced the game into overtime. Their calm play pushed the game into double overtime, where Joelle Fiala secured a 3–2 win just 12 seconds in.

“That's what it takes, right? Just having a little bit of composure or patience and somebody just bearing down on a puck on a great chance,” UBC head coach Graham Thomas noted about Fiala’s game-winning goal.

Alternate captain Ireland Perrott in Saturday's matchup.
Alternate captain Ireland Perrott in Saturday's matchup. Isabella Falsetti / The Ubyssey

That composure would pay off during Saturday’s game. The intensity from Friday carried over with lots of strong play from both teams. In the 12th minute, an Alberta penalty put UBC on the power play where Cassidy Rhodes opened the scoring with a rebound that just barely crossed the goal line.

The Pandas came back strong in the second period, putting lots of offensive pressure on the Thunderbirds. A wrist shot from Kallie Clouston from right in front of the net would tie the game 1–1. Tensions were high, and the game started to become more physical — resulting in penalties for roughing, cross-checking and contact to the head.

Karine Sandilands in Saturday's game hosting the Alberta Pandas.
Karine Sandilands in Saturday's game hosting the Alberta Pandas. Isabella Falsetti / The Ubyssey

Those penalties were the deciding factor. The T-Birds were successful in their penalty kills, but the Pandas weren’t as lucky. A hooking penalty gave UBC a power play where Hannah Koroll scored the game-winning goal again. The last three UBC games have entered overtime, but the T-Birds were able to hold onto their lead for a decisive 2–1 victory.

“We don't talk about [the streaks], but it was nice to get it done in regulation and no more overtimes,” Thomas laughed.

The weekend sweep gave the ‘Birds four points, placing them one point ahead of the Mount Royal Cougars who they play in Calgary on November 25 at 6 p.m.