Vancouver, BC – The University of British Columbia men’s hockey team (12-9-5) outlasted the University of Regina Cougars (8-16-2) 1-0 Saturday night at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. They split both series with Regina, earning a ‘W’ on the road, and another one at home for their final home game of the regular season.
Goaltender Matt Hewitt was the first star of the game earning his second career CIS shut out.
“It feels good,” Hewitt said after the game. “After the first one it sort of took the monkey off of my back. But, tonight we played a desperate team trying to make the playoffs and they pushed hard. I just tried to hold my ground and give my team a chance to win.”
A scoreless first saw the Thunderbirds with many chances. Outshooting the Cougars 12-4, Joe Antilla, Anthony Bardaro, Nate Fleming, and Cole Wilson led UBC with two shots apiece in the first 20. Antilla saw time on both the power play and the penalty kill, in which he led a short-handed rush for one of the period’s most exciting scoring opportunities. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play, and UBC entered the second on the man-advantage.
UBC made their way onto the board with a goal early in the second. Defenseman Brendon Wall got Regina goaltender Lucas Gore leaning before making a saucer of a pass across the ice to Nick Buonassisi, who was able to tap the puck into a wide open net. The goal is Buonassisi’s 10th of the season. He now trails Wilson by one for the team lead in goals.
Despite a surge in offensive opportunities from Regina, Hewitt and the team were able to keep the score 1-0 through the period. Hewitt made all 15 saves he faced while UBC remained dominant on the attack with 23 shots through 40 minutes of play.
The score remained 1-0 as the Thunderbirds outlasted the visiting Cougars in the final period. Antilla was afforded a penalty shot as another one of his short-handed breakaways was cut short by a Regina defenseman in front of the net. Unfortunately, he was unable to capitalize.
The Cougars, clinging to the hope of making the playoffs, fired an additional 11 shots on net in the final frame, but Hewitt and his defensive corps were able to shut them down. With the win, Hewitt has now earned two shut outs in last three starts.
Although regular season home games at ‘the Doug’ have come to an end, the fourth place Thunderbirds still have one more series to suit up for. The team travels to Lethbridge to take on the eighth place Pronghorns (4-22-0) next Friday and Saturday.