Lethbridge, AB – The UBC Thunderbirds suffered their first regulation loss of the season on Saturday afternoon at the hands of the Lethbridge Pronghorns, who scored three unanswered goalsto steal the game by a 3-1 score in women`s hockey. The win was the Pronghorns first of the season after starting the season 0-5-0 as Lethbridge ended the Thunderbirds four-game winning streak thanks to a pair of goals from Jenae Culp in the second and third period. Sadie Lenstra added an empty-netter to seal the victory for the Pronghorns after Rebecca Unrau scored her first of the season which gave UBC the initial lead in the first period.
With the victory, the Pronghorns earn their first points of the season as the team improves to 1-5-0 while the Thunderbirds fall to 4-1-1. Saturday’s game saw the same two goaltenders go head-to-head as Samantha Langford started for the visiting T-Birds and Crystal Patterson for host Lethbridge. Langford entered the day unbeaten with a 4-0-0 record but was tagged with the loss allowing two goals on 24 shots. Again, Patterson saw a ton of shots, making 30 or more saves for the sixth consecutive game, but was on the winning side on Saturday making 35 saves.
Unrau got the Thunderbirds on the board first at 16:33 of the first period to take a 1-0 advantage heading into the first intermission. Madison Patrick collected her first career CIS point with the assist on the play, in just her second game as a Thunderbird after playing with St. Mary’s Academy Flames AAA Prep Team last season.
Both teams would fail to convert on its lone power play opportunity of the period as the visiting UBC squad held a 12-8 shot advantage through the opening period of play. By game`s end, there would be a total of eight penalties with Lethbridge going 1-for-6 scoring their second power play goal in as many games, and UBC going 0-for-2.
As was the case yesterday, the Pronghorns bounced back in the second period to outscore the Thunderbirds, this time with the equalizer as Culp found the back of the net to tie the game up at 1-1. The Pronghorns failed to bulge the twine on its three power play opportunities of the period against a T-Bird team which boasted an 87.5% penalty kill entering Saturday’s matinee, good for third in the Canada West. UBC put some distance between themselves and Lethbridge in the shot department, with a 25-15 edge after 40 minutes of play.
Culp gave the home team reason to celebrate as the Leduc, AB native potted her second of the game at 8:48 of the third, to give the Pronghorns a one goal advantage with a 2-1 lead, which proved to be the game winner. Shorthanded, and with the goalie pulled, the Thunderbirds would concede an empty netter to Lenstra, which gave her a two-point afternoon after chipping in with an assist on the game`s second goal.
The first-place Calgary Dinos dropped a lengthy shootout game against the Regina Cougars earlier today, allowing the Thunderbirds the opportunity to gain some ground in the Canada West conference. It wasn`t meant to be, however, as UBC now sits two points back of Calgary and in a tie with Alberta and Manitoba for second, as of Saturday afternoon. Just two points separate the top four teams at the top of the Canada West standings. Lethbridge`s win helped them climb out of the basement of the Canada West, a position now occupied by the Mount Royal Cougars.
The UBC Thunderbirds will return home next weekend for a two-game stint with the University of Regina Cougars, after a four-game road trip spanning two weekend series.