By Chelsea Craig (Sports Information Assistant)
January 25, 2014, VANCOUVER (ISN) – A goal by rookie forward Krista Wilson with 48 seconds remaining in the game lifted the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team to an action-packed 3-2 win over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday afternoon at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Following their high-scoring victory over the same team Friday night, the ‘Birds complete the weekend sweep to improve their record to 18-5-1, breaking the program record for most regular season wins in a single campaign set last year. The Bisons secure a playoff spot despite the loss, but their record is now 13-7-4.
Down by a goal in the third and desperate to get the equalizer, Nicole Saxvik drove the puck just short of the Bisons goal line where Tatiana Rafter arrived momentously to shove home the shorthanded equalizer. Then with the score at 3-3, the ‘Birds continued to apply heavy pressure in Manitoba’s zone. Looking almost as if the game would head to overtime, it was evident UBC was yearning to break free before the buzzer until finally with 48 seconds remaining Wilson struck gold amidst a frantic scramble on the Bisons’ doorstep.
It was UBC to strike first in the opening frame with Hannah Heisler sending the puck five-hole through Manitoba goaltender Dée-Ana Marion to put her team up 1-0.
Miscommunication by a pair of Thunderbirds behind the net left the puck available for Bison Kyleigh Palmer to scoop up for a well-timed wraparound to equalize the score 1-all with four and a half minutes left in the first period. That’s the way it looked after 20 minutes of play. UBC led the shots 8-5.
Caitlin Fyten gave the visitors the lead at 11:35 of the second period and 1:40 later, teammate Maggie Litchfield-Medd found the back of the net to make it score 3-1.
But the two-goal advantage lasted all of 14 seconds, as Heisler replied for the T-Birds with her second goal of the night, setting the stage for the third period comeback.
Wilson’s goal was her first in CIS competition, and Heisler’s two tallies marked her fifth and sixth points of the season for the young rookie.
Neither team had success on the five chances they each had on power play.
Thunderbirds netminder Danielle Dube made several key high glove snatches throughout the game, securing the win for UBC and stopping 21 of 24 shots faced.
Manitoba’s Marion would suffer the loss; she turned aside 29 of the 33 shots she faced on the day.
Next weekend, the T-Birds stay home for a second straight series to host Mt. Royal while Manitoba will travel to Regina.