Lethbridge, AB – Two quick first period goals proved to be the difference as the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team earned a 2-1 victory over the winless Lethbridge Pronghorns Friday night in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early two-goal lead in the first period off goals from Sarah Casorso and Melissa Goodwin, and never looked back. Goodwin’s goal was good for the game winner as Pronghorns captain Sadie Lenstra cut the Thunderbirds lead to one midway through the second period.
Samantha Langford got the call in net, and allowed just one goal on 29 shots, as the fourth-year goalie remains undefeated on the season. Overall, the Thunderbirds are 4-0-1 and remain in a tie for second in the Canada West after both Calgary and Alberta were victorious on Friday night.
“We played well in the 1st and the 3rd, but we didn’t show up in the 2nd period,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. “We were lucky tonight that the work we put in early in the game paid off in the end. We had some great chances in the 3rd, but ran into a hot goalie.”
Just five minutes into the game, the Pronghorns faced the nation’s second leading power play unit, humming at 33.3% efficiency entering the night. Casorso made good off assists from Logan Boyd and Tatiana Rafter as the UBC back end continues to put up scoring in the season’s early going.
Rafter sits in second in Canada West scoring after Friday’s game thanks to her assist on the game’s opening goal. Casorso extended her goal-scoring streak to five games, with one goal in each, as the defenceman leads all Canada West blueliners in goals and points.
The Thunderbirds doubled their lead a minute later as Goodwin potted her second of the season and second in as many games. Casorso chipped in with an assist, as did Kelly Murray, who now has four assists in her last two games.
The Thunderbirds held a double-digit lead in shots after the first period, outshooting their home side 16-6. Langford stopped all six shots she faced in the opening frame while Crystal Patterson allowed two goals for the Pronghorns in the veteran’s fifth start of the season.
Lethbridge responded with some fight midway through the second period as Lenstra made no mistake in burying her first of the year. The goal came at 9:15 of the second period, and on the Pronghorns’ sole power play opportunity of the period. The Lenstra goal was the sole addition to the scoring sheet in the second as the Thunderbirds enjoyed a 2-1 advantage heading into the third.
Langford would make 14 saves in the third to preserve the 2-1 lead and ultimately the victory for the Thunderbirds as UBC has now won four straight after dropping the season’s opening game.
“Samantha and our team defense held strong during a last effort from Lethbridge,” said Thomas. “We were proud of our resiliency tonight and how we responded after the second period.”
UBC and Lethbridge will square off again tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 pm PT.