October 10, 2013, VANCOUVER (ISN) – The last time UBC met with the Calgary Dinos – their fiercest Canada West rivals – the Thunderbirds put their hearts and souls on the line and came away as Canada West champions. The Dinos and Thunderbirds would both go on to compete at the CIS national championship tournament, where Calgary finished second and UBC placed fifth – a historic accomplishment for a team whose record had been mired with unsuccessful seasons.
At last, the two rivals will meet again this Friday at UBC, and Calgary will undoubtedly be out for blood in an attempt to resecure their command of the Canada West conference. However, after losing Canadian women’s hockey legend, national team member, and Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, the Dinos have had a less than successful start to their season. Following consecutive encounters with Regina last week, their conference record stands at 0-1-1, and the week prior Calgary also suffered a shutout loss to Toronto in non-conference play.
Also lost from Calgary’s roster is Russian Olympic team forward Iya Gavrilova, who was a CIS championship tournament all-star and finished fourth in conference scoring.
Nevertheless Calgary has recruited some new faces who will be looking to make their mark. New assets to the Dinos’ offensive line will be St. Francis Xavier transfer Janelle Parent, who finished first in scoring in the Atlantic conference, and forwards Jessyka Holt, who finished in the top ten in scoring in her junior league prior to joining the Dinos. Kate Lumley – daughter of retired Edmonton Oiler Dave Lumley – will also be one to look out for.
This weekend marks the home opening series for the Thunderbirds who are coming off a split in Lethbridge this past weekend. They rallied from a three goal deficit in the first game to win 5-4 in a shootout, but then blew a two-goal advantage on Saturday to lose 3-2.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. On Saturday, the Thunderbirds will raise the 2013 Canada West Championship banner to the arena’s rafters in a special ceremony prior to the start of the game; as well, they will host the second Annual Women’s Hockey Alumni Night. All alumni are encouraged to come out and cheer on this year’s team and then join in a postgame reception at the Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre.