Vancouver, BC – This weekend’s upcoming series between the UBC Thunderbirds and Lethbridge Pronghorns is the tale of two teams going in opposite directions thus far this season. The T-Birds sit one point out of first in the Canada West and remain undefeated in regulation while the Pronghorns are winless through the first four games of the season, pinned with an unfavorable team goal differential.
The No. 4 ranked Thunderbirds are victors of three straight after opening the season with an overtime loss. Most recently, the T-Birds took five points from the Mount Royal Cougars outscoring their Alberta opponent 11-2, including an 8-0 victory on Saturday. UBC remains on the road for the second consecutive weekend, facing a Lethbridge team that is coming off two weekend sweeps at the hands of the Alberta Pandas and Calgary Dinos.
As a result of the early season struggles, the Pronghorns sit at the bottom of the Canada West, with a –17 goal differential. The Lethbridge defense will have to be on it’s A-game as the Thunderbirds have scored a league leading 17 goals through the opening four games of the season.
Leading the charge in that department is fifth-year Winnipeg native Tatiana Rafter, who leads the Canada West with five goals and eight points. Sarah Casorso sits in fifth in league scoring with six points through four games while rookie Logan Boyd is second in rookie scoring with four points. Casorso is also riding a four-game goal-scoring streak to open up the season.
In net, the Thunderbirds have played Samantha Langford in three of the first four games of the season, as the fourth-year veteran has amassed a 3-0-0 record with a .970 save percentage and 0.65 GAA. Lethbridge counters with fifth-year Crystal Patterson, who has been peppered with shots this season, leading the league in saves but at the same time has also conceded a league-high in goals.
A large part of the Thunderbirds success can be attributed to its power play, which sits in first in the Canada West with a 33.3% conversion rate, going 7-for-21. UBC has also managed to kill off 19 of its 21 penalties, good for a 90% kill rate.
Over the previous two seasons, the UBC Thunderbirds hold the edge in head to head action versus the Pronghorns with a 6-2 recod.
The Canada West rivals will begin their weekend series on Friday at 6:00 pm PT before the series’ conclusion at 3:30 p.m. PT on Saturday.