‘Birds hope home ice advantage will help end losing skid

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Vancouver, BC – The UBC women’s hockey team will face off against the University of Calgary on home ice this weekend. The Dinos are coming off of a split weekend in Edmonton with a record of 7-3-4. The Thunderbirds, now 8-3-3 on the season, are coming off of a tough road trip to Winnipeg where they were swept by the University of Manitoba. 
 
“It was a challenging weekend for us, but we got together afterwards for our family chat and we’ve set out some goals for ourselves,” says UBC Head Coach Graham Thomas. “We want go out there and make a strong team effort and support each other out there.”

The Canada West Conference is incredibly competitive this season: UBC are currently in a four-way tie for first place with 26 points so far this season, along with the University of Manitoba, The University of Alberta, and the University of Saskatchewan. Calgary is just one point back with 25 points. With so many competitive teams neck and neck, the Thunderbirds are looking to take things one at a time.
 
These two teams have faced each other already this season, with the Thunderbirds edging out the Dinos in a 4-3 and 3-2 in Calgary on the weekend of November 7-8. Calgary will be coming to UBC with some offensive power stored up: Canada West’s top scorer, Iya Gavrilova, will lace up with the Dinos this weekend. Gavrilova has 13 goals to her name so far this season. Of course you can’t forget about Hayley Wickenheiser. The four-time Olympic gold medalst has 12 points in nine games this season.

Coach Thomas is confident that his team will be ready to meet this challenge however.

“We’re not looking to focus on individuals, everything is about the team effort,” explains Thomas. “What we are most focussed on is getting back to playing our game and finishing off the year strong.”

UBC has five players ranked in the top 20 top scorers in the Canada West, the most of any team, highlighting their talented line up. Sarah Casorso, Rebecca Unrau, Tatiana Rafter, Nicole Saxvik and Kelly Murray all make the list.  

UBC’s goalie, Samantha Langford, ranks second in wins (8) and third in goals against average (1.67).
 
The games this weekend will mark UBC’s last games of the 2014 portion of the season.
 
Puck drop is 7:00 pm on Friday evening followed by a 2:00 pm start time on Saturday. Both games will be played at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

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