VANCOUVER – The No. 8 UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team (12-4-4) added another win to their impressive start to the year by defeating the No. 10 University of Saskatchewan Huskies (11-7-2) 5-1 in another physically-charged game in Saskatoon, Sask.
With the win, combined with a Lethbridge loss on Saturday, the Thunderbirds clinched a Canada West playoff berth.
UBC’s offensive barrage was the highlight of the game as the ‘Birds outshot the Huskies 30-28. Rebecca Unrau and Tatiana Rafter each lit the lamp twice, and Nicole Saxvik added the final goal in the third. Rafter leads UBC scoring with nine goals and 18 points this season, followed closely by Unrau and Saxvik, each with eight goals and 16 points. Scoring was complemented by Sarah Casorso, who had four assists on Saturday and leads the team with 12 so far this season.
UBC jumped ahead again first, this time thanks to an Unrau goal at 1:20. She carried the puck across the ice on her own and found the back of the net for her seventh goal of the season. Unrau is now 10th in the Canada West’s top 10 scorers.
The Huskies were quick to respond when defenceman Alyssa Dobler fed a pass to Kandace Cook, who evened the score 1-1 less than two minutes into the second period. UBC’s top two scorers Unrau and Rafter battled back with the help of Casorso, who assisted all three goals in the second. Unrau scored five minutes into the period, and Rafter furthered the ‘Birds’ lead with an additional pair to send UBC into the third with a 4-1 lead.
Saxvik added a tally to the Thunderbirds’ lead in the third, finalizing the win 5-1 and extending UBC’s winning streak to four games. Casorso had four assists, and UBC’s top three point producers led the offensive charge.
UBC’s final two goals came on the power play and the team finished 2-of-8 with the extra skater while Saskatchewan didn’t convert on its seven opportunities as the two squads combined for 32 minutes in penalties. Danielle Dube played the full 60 minutes, stopping 28 out of 27 shots on goal.
“It was great to watch us come out energized and commit to the game plan for an entire weekend,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. “It was a great team building weekend with every player contributing to the success. We are going to carry this momentum into the week to help get us prepared for next weekend.”
The Thunderbirds look to continue their winning streak next weekend as they head to the University of Regina for their second match-up against the Cougars this season.