VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team will host the University of Manitoba Bisons in Canada West regular season action this weekend at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. The weekend series will be the first meeting this season between the schools, who are in close proximity to each other in the Canada West standings. The Thunderbirds (6-6-2) hold a two-point lead on Manitoba (6-8-0) for the fourth position in the conference standings.
UBC has lost three of its last four games, but the two weekend series came against the league’s top two teams in the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. The Thunderbirds, with a victory over Alberta in the season-opening weekend, remain the only team to date to have defeated the No. 1-ranked team in the CIS.
Forward Nate Fleming currently leads the Thunderbirds in scoring in his fifth and final year of eligibility. The St. Alberta, Alta., native has two goals and eight assists in 11 games. Second-year Nick Buonassisi has six goals on the season.
Both UBC goaltenders in Matt Hewitt and Eric Williams boast similar statistics. Hewitt has played in nine games for the Thunderbirds and is credited for four of their six wins with a 3.02 goals-against average, while Williams has appeared in six game and holds a .905 save percentage.
Manitoba’s last two weekends of action have been similar to UBC’s – earning one win in four against the conference’s top teams.
Goaltender Deven Dubyk has been busy this season for the Bisons, playing in 12 of the 14 games this season. Dubyk sits in fifth place in the conference with his 2.10 goals-against average. Second-year forward Jordan DePape leads the Prairie team in scoring with five goals and eight assists, good for ninth place in the league scoring race.
Friday’s puck drop is set for 7 p.m., while Saturday’s matinee will begin at 2 p.m. – both at UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Saturday’s game is dubbed “The Noonar” as a dedication to Rick Noonan, the former UBC men’s hockey trainer and manager, UBC Men’s Athletic Director, and long-time president of the UBC Hockey Alumni.