Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team welcomes the Saskatchewan Huskies to town this weekend for their first home games of 2015.
UBC has been on a roll to start the new year, winning three of their first four games to kickoff 2015, all on the road. Coming off a sweep of the Mount Royal Cougars, the T-Birds begin the first of a four-game home stand as just six games remain on the season schedule.
The pair of losses forced Mount Royal out of the top-10 after being ranked No. 9 for the duration of Thunderbirds weekend matchup, as UBC improved to 10-9-3 on the season. With the T-Birds currently sitting in fourth in the Canada West, UBC can clinch a playoff spot with three out of a possible four points this weekend.
The Thunderbirds have been riding the hot play of goaltender Eric Williams, who has taken a stranglehold on the starting gig, having won four of UBC’s previous five games dating back to November. Riding a three-game win streak, Williams has improved his season numbers to a 0.922 save percentage and 2.35 goals against average.
On the offensive, Anthony Bardaro is riding a seven-game point streak in which the forward has compiled two goals and seven assists. Though Bardaro leads the team in points (18), Cole Wilson has also been on a tear as of late, collecting four multi-point games over the team’s previous six games. That includes a hat trick performance on January 4th against the Manitoba Bisons.
Another UBC player looking to stay hot is Manraj Hayer who has taken full advantage of his playing time as a rookie, currently riding a six-game point streak. Hayer has four goals and 10 points during that span upping his season totals to five goals and 12 points.
Meanwhile the Huskies check in having experienced a rather tumultuous season thus far, with a 9-12-1 tacked to their name. The team won four straight to start the regular season, followed by a seven-game losing streak. Currently, the team is in the midst of a three game funk while losing five of their past six including a sweep at the hands of the Calgary Dinos last weekend.
The Huskies early season win streak included a pair of victories over the Thunderbirds, first a 2-1 overtime victory before shutting them out 4-0. The latter game saw Williams make his CIS debut as well as seeing former CHL Goaltender of the Year Jordon Cooke snag his first CIS shutout.
Though Cooke (5-6-0) has strong credentials, the Huskies have a rigid timeshare that also features Ryan Holfeld (4-7-0) with both goaltenders putting up near identical stats. The two are averaging a 0.915 save percentage and 2.61 goals against, with each picking up a lone shutout to date.
Riding a nine game point-streak, Craig McCallum is enjoying a breakout season for the Huskies having already topped his career high in points, with 22 on the season. McCallum has goals in six straight and has collected 14 points over that nine-game stretch.
Also hot for the Huskies is Josh Roach, having already doubled his career high in points and currently riding a four game point streak. The second year forward has six points in four games in the new year and is one of just two players on the Huskies with a plus/minus rating above zero (+3).
Being dubbed the ‘Winter Classic,’ Friday’s game starts at 7 p.m., as does Saturday’s game with puck drop both nights at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.