With the win, the Thunderbirds made UBC history. Never having finished higher than third place before, the varsity team can now proudly say they have climbed from fifth place in the standings to second, all within the 12 games remaining after the holiday break.
“It was just a team effort,” UBC head coach Graham Thomas said after the game. “I think that was the key. We were all just getting more pucks to the net and it was really a strong team effort. Everyone stepped up, our secondary scorers—[Celine] Tardif got her first two, Emily O’Neill played a great game, Jenna [Carpenter-Boesch] had those great points; Sam [Langford] really stood tall for us in net. It was just a full team effort. We’re really proud of the team. It was just a great accomplishment. We earned this bye.”
UBC took charge of the game from the opening faceoff in an effort to play a full, consistent 60 minutes. Alternate captains Cailey Hay and Emily O’Neill were the first to tally in the opening period, feeding Jenna Carpenter-Boesch for her second goal of the year. Following in the closing minutes of the first, rookie defenseman Celine Tardif notched her first goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play, an opportunity the Thunderbirds weren’t able to take advantage of last night.
Tardif didn’t stop there, either. In the second she netted another goal, just two minutes into the period on a pass from Carpenter-Boesch, her third assist of the season, giving the ‘Birds a 3-0 lead.
Halfway through the third and still without a goal, the Pandas pressed back as defenceman Kirsten Toth scored her third goal of the year off of a pass from Hannah Olenyk. Olenyk, a first-year, leads Alberta in assists (15) and is tied with Jessica Kampjes for first on the team in points with 25.
Ultimately, the Pandas were unable to overcome the Thunderbirds who were fighting to lock down second place. 3-1 was the final.
Samantha Langford made 20 saves for her 11th win of the season, while Hannah Baker, making her first start of the season for Alberta, stopped 12 of the 15 shots she faced.
UBC finished the afternoon 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Pandas went 1-for-4.
With the closing of the regular season, both teams will get a week’s worth of much needed rest before squaring off with their semi-final post season counterparts on the weekend of February 27-28.