‘Birds prove to be scary guests on Halloween night in Regina

Luke Lockhart

Regina, SK – The UBC Thunderbirds earned another important win Friday night, defeating the Regina Cougars 4-2 at the Co-operators Centre in Regina, Sask.  It was the ‘Birds third straight victory and the Cougars ninth straight loss.  

UBC scored a pair of shorthanded goals in the victory to give the Thunderbirds a league leading five shorthanded goals on the season. 

Tied at 2-2 heading to the final frame, Anthony Bardaro scored his second goal of the season just 1:14 into the period to put the Thunderbirds up 3-2. That goal would prove to be the game winner as Luke Lockhart added an empty netter to help UBC improve to 5-2-2 on the season. Regina is 0-9-0 on the year.

“We came out and played real hard in the second period and showed what type of team we are capable of being when we commit to team speed and playing the right way,” said UBC head coach Tyler Kuntz. “Anthony Bardaro was great for us tonight. He was dangerous every time he was out there and has been real solid for us at both ends of the rink.”

“I thought our penalty killing has finally started to pick up where we left off last season in the past few games. Luke Lockhart and Nick Buonassisi have been weapons out there short handed. And the other guys, Dillon Wagner, Greg Fraser, Joe Antilla, David Robinson, Nate Fleming and our defence have played real hard and created some opportunities as well.”

UBC did not get the start they were looking for. Regina dominated the opening period, outshooting the visitors 17-3 and to add insult to injury the Cougars scored while shorthanded. Cody Fowlie passing attempt through the slot went off a UBC defender’s skate and past Matt Hewitt for the first goal of the night. Regina led 1-0 through 20 minutes of play.

The Thunderbirds were a different team in the second period firing 20 shots at Mitch Kilgore to just four for Regina. UBC got on the board just under six minutes into the period. Despite being shorthanded the Thunderbirds forced a turnover and found themselves on a 2-on-1, where Nick Buonassisi capitalized off a nice feed from Lockhart to tie the game at 1-1 on the sixth goal of the season for Buonassisi.

Less than five minutes later the Thunderbirds would strike again while a man down, this time Linden Saip got in on the act. Saip intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, streaked down the right side and roofed it over Kilgore’s shoulder to give UBC a 2-1 lead.   

Despite UBC’s lead, the Cougars’ still had some fight left and Ian McNulty would score the first full strength goal of the night jumping on a rebound and firing the loose puck past Hewitt to make it a 2-2 game. That is how things would stand after two periods of play. 

Lockhart and Saip each finished the game with a goal and an assist.

Hewitt stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced for his fourth win of the season. Kilgore took the loss in net for Regina, making 23 saves on the night.

“Credit to Matt Hewitt for keeping us in the game in the first period because we really struggled,” said Kuntz. “He was excellent tonight and really held us in the game for that period especially.”

UBC went 0-for-4 on the power play, while Regina finished 0-for-5. 

The Thunderbirds and Cougars are back in action tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. PT at The Co-operators Centre in Regina, Sask.