VANCOUVER – The top two lines for the UBC Thunderbirds got the job done on Friday evening, with two goals apiece by Cole Wilson and Nick Buonassisi aiding in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns.
UBC’s top line of Wilson, Nate Fleming, and Adam Rossignol was dominant throughout the night. Wilson was the beneficiary on the Thunderbirds’ first two goals of the game, bringing his season total to four goals. Rossignol scored the final goal for the T-Birds. The lone marker for Lethbridge came from left winger Mike Forsyth.
“We’ve done some good things throughout the year,” said Wilson of his line’s performance. “I thought tonight we took the next step and capitalized on some of the chances.”
Wilson notes a full team effort in the team’s victory.
“It was a good effort by all of us,” he said. “It’s nice to see that kind of flow in the game.”
The second unit for UBC provided the team’s third and fourth goals on the night. Buonassisi was assisted by Brad Hoban and Anthony Bardaro on both goals. He has now scored five goals in the last three games.
“I’ve always been a believer that goals come in bunches,” said Buonassisi. “It’s just a matter of sticking to your game, and the goals will come.”
With the line formation occurring just last weekend, the combination of forwards looked good following the week of training.
“A full week of practice really helped,” said Buonassisi on the line’s chemistry. “I think we’re just going to get better from here.
UBC’s fifth goal came from rookie Rossignol late into the third period, after the game was all but decided. The goal was his fourth on the year, giving him a team-leading total of seven points through seven games this season.
Forsyth scored the goal 3:28 into the period, with second-year player Brandon Clowes getting credit for the assist. The goal came after an aggressive opening to the second period for the visiting team. First-year centreman Artsiom Kalashnikov, who has roots in nearby Coquitlam, noted an inconsistent effort by Pronghorns.
“We tried to stay aggressive on the forecheck, and we did a good job at the start of the second,” he said. “After that we just took our foot off the pedal, and stopped playing hockey.”
The Pronghorns remain winless on the year.
“We’ve struggled on the road,” said Kalashnikov. “We would just have those four to five-minute breakdowns, which would cost us.”
Kalashnikov, just shy of 21 years of age, represented Team Belarus in qualification for the 2012 World Junior Championships.
With the win UBC improves to 3-2-2 on the season, which leaves them in a three-way tie for fourth in Canada West, while Lethbridge drops to 0-7-0.
Buonassisi sees the team’s potential this year.
“We know we’re a top end team this year,” he said. “We really have the guys and the coaching staff to be a contender.”
In goal, Eric Williams made 17 saves for the win, and even recorded an assist on his team’s second goal. Damien Ketlo stopped 36 of 41 shots in a losing cause.
UBC and Lethbridge will hit the ice again on Saturday in the second game of the weekend series. Buonassisi notes there to be no difference in mindset heading into tomorrow night’s game.
“Play defence first and the rest will take care of itself,” he said. “The goals will come.”
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. PT at UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.