Vancouver, BC – The University of British Columbia men’s hockey team dropped a frustrating game to the University of Regina Cougars (8-15-2) in double overtime 3-2. The loss doesn’t move the Thunderbirds—now 11-9-5—in the Canada West standings, as they remain in fourth place, picking up a single points as they continue their quest for a home playoff series.
Ian McNulty played the hero Friday night, taking a feed from Sanfred King 3:27 into double overtime and making no mistake, beating Matt Hewitt for the game winning goal and a 3-2 victory for the visiting Cougars.
Much like their extra-time heartbreaker last weekend, the ‘Birds allowed the visitors to creep back into the game late in the third with a pair of goals, despite opportunities aplenty. UBC went 0-for-9 on the power play, unable to take advantage of any of the 14 infractions the Cougars served.
“We just didn’t put them away,” Neil Manning said after the loss. “The last couple of games we’ve lost we score the first goal but then we let them back in. We need to work on getting that second and third goal and just putting them away.”
The pace of the game was set less than 30 seconds into the first with off-setting penalties that sent Ian McNulty and Luke Lockhart to the box for crosschecking and slashing respectively.
UBC opened up the scoring late in the opening period. Cole Wilson tipped a Ben Schmidt saucer pass, past Regina goaltender Lucas Gore to put the home team in front 1-0. The goal is Wilson’s 11th of the season, and Schmidt’s sixth assist. Manraj Hayer picked up the second assist. 1-0 is how things stood after 20 minutes of play.
Intensity grew in the second period, although the score remained 1-0. UBC had four power plays but were unable to capitalize despite a few good opportunities. Dillon Wagner laid himself on the line twice, blocking a shot early in the period with his torso, and later with his shin. Visibly shaken after the latter, he made his way down the tunnel, but returned to play in the third.
Regina wasted little time in the third period, scoring their first goal 1:06 into the frame. Brock Appleyard took a feed from behind UBC’s net from Tyler Henry for his second of the season, to tie the game at 1-1. 33 seconds later Austin Bourhis’ night came to close as he was assessed a five-minute major penalty for a hit to the head of Nick Bouanassisi and a game misconduct. However, the Thunderbirds were unable to find the puck of the net on the lengthy power play.
Just past the midway point of the third period Regina took the lead as Dylen McKinlay passed a wobbly puck to Sanfred King who flipped it over Hewitt for his eightth goal of the season. The ‘Birds quickly answered back, or so they thought, but much to his frustration, Schmidt’s goal was waived off for a kicking motion.
UBC did not relinquish the game just yet, however. Lockhart scored off of a rebound from a Wagner slapshot to tie the game with 6:06 left in the period. Regular time ended in a 2-2 draw, in which UBC led shots on goal 38-21.
Early over time UBC once again found themselves on the power play, this time a 4-on-3, but as was the theme of the night they would be unable to capitalize. Five minutes of 4-on-4 solved nothing so the game went to double overtime and 3-on-3 hockey.
“We need to play our game,” said Manning. “We’ve got to stick with it on the power play and try to get more pucks to the net from up top.”
Regina also finished the night without a power play goal, going 0-for-4 while UBC was 0-for-9.
Lucas Gore was solid in net for the Cougars making 40 saves in the win. Hewitt took the loss stopping 22 of the 25 shots he faced.
The Thunderbirds will look to bounce back tomorrow. The rematch is slated for 7:00 pm at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.