UBC women’s hockey sweeps home-opening weekend

UBC women’s hockey left the University of Manitoba Bisons with no room to breathe this weekend, scoring a 6–1 victory, immediately followed by a 6–2 win.

Friday night’s game opened to fanfare as the Thunderbirds proudly watched their Canada West 2021/22 championship banner rise to the rafters. But there was little time to celebrate; the Bisons came out hungry.

A UBC penalty allowed the Bisons's Hanna Bailey to score two minutes in on a power play. The ‘Birds answered with a Mia Bierd goal off a beautiful pass by Mya Healey. In the second period, UBC outshot the Bisons 20 to 3. The dominance was largely attributed to the T-Birds defenceman who stopped the puck from leaving Manitoba’s defensive zone. The T-Birds were rewarded for this relentless attack, with goals from Hannah Koroll and rookie Cassidy Rhodes.

Despite the efforts of Bisons goalie Kimberley Davidson, UBC doubled their score in the final period; Joelle Fiala scored early, and Rhodes netted two more goals for her first U SPORTS hat-trick. For Rhodes, the victory was special.

“To not just get a goal but get a hat-trick … this is the first time my grandparents have ever seen me play hockey, so this is a big game for me personally,” she said.

Number 74 Cassidy Rhodes celebrates after a goal.
Number 74 Cassidy Rhodes celebrates after a goal. Isabella Maggiore / The Ubyssey

On Saturday afternoon, the Bisons came out with intensity, ready to gum up the works of the T-Birds. Aimee Patrick capitalized on an errant pass from Chanreet Bassi, leading to another Bisons first point. Soon after, Mackenzie Kordic used a Manitoba turnover to pocket a goal. With seconds ticking down in the first period, the teams traded goals again.

Four Thunderbirds took a piece of the scoring pie to put away the Bisons for good in the second frame. Fiala put up a goal after intense UBC pressure in the Bisons's D-Zone and rookie Jacquelyn Fleming notched her first Canada West goal on a power play. Though the Bisons made a strong attack on the Thunderbirds’ goal, goalkeeper Kate Stuart was up to the test.

Following Kordic’s second goal, assisted by Ashton Thorpe in a 2-on-1, Sierra LaPlante put the T-Birds at a 6–2 lead. The third period was quieter, with the Bisons racking up penalties in a push to turn things around. In the end, neither team was able to get a score.

About the team’s success at home, head coach Graham Thomas said, “They had some upgrades in the summer so this was our first week back in the Doug [Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre] and you can see the excitement … we stuck to the process. We didn’t cheat the game, we continued to play good defence as well.”

The Thunderbirds will aim to keep up the momentum as they travel to Saskatoon to face the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday, October 14, at 6 p.m.