UBC Thunderbirds vs Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks
*Story and photos by Alex Rodgerson/ISN
Coming off a 3-2 double overtime victory against the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology on Friday night, the UBC Thunderbirds Men’s Hockey team was back in action on Saturday to wrap up their two game preseason series with the NAIT. After surrendering a goal on the first shot of the game, UBC would respond with four straight tallies to defeat the Ooks by a final of 4-1 to sweep their two game preseason series.
UBC’s Quentin Greenwood would have the best opportunity of the opening minutes as the former Olds Grizzly would get the puck out front of NAIT goaltender Patrick Gora, taking several whacks at the loose puck before the Ooks would finally clear. After UBC managed to take a 3-0 lead in shots the Ooks would capitalize on their very first attempt on goal, beating UBC goaltender Patrick Dea to make it a 1-0 for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
The Ooks would look to build off their early momentum as NAIT’s #20 Devon McAndrews would land a big hit on UBC’s Jerret Smith, with Smith going back at McAndrews with a big hit of his own on the very same shift. Former Tri-City American Maxwell James would then spark the T-Birds, mucking it up in the corner and creating a loose puck for former Prince George Cougar Josh Connolly to eventually cash in on, tying the game 1-1 with 8:52 remaining in the first period. The Ooks would head to their third powerplay just minutes later after Tanner Faith would be called for a slash on NAIT’s McAndrews, who continued his agitating game for the Ooks.
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology would enter the second period with much higher energy than they started the first, opening up the ice with several well-placed breakout passes and nearly breaking the deadlock early on. UBC would spend the majority of the first five minutes of the second trying to find their legs against a hard forechecking Ooks team, before the T-Birds would begin to use a quick transition offense to turn the momentum. UBC would then secure their first lead of the game on a goal set-up by former Vancouver Giant Carter Popoff, who would finish the night with a goal and two assists.
Leading 2-1 UBC would then head back to the powerplay under a minute later, creating several opportunities at the Ooks’ net and forcing Gora to make some key saves. UBC would find success with the cross-slot pass on the powerplay but would fail to cash in. However, despite returning to even strength the Thunderbirds would continue to press the issue, moving the puck around well before Shaun Dosanjh would snap a quick shot by Gora to put UBC up 3-1 late in the second period.
With time winding down in the second the game would begin to see some nastiness, with UBC’s Colton Kehler and Maxwell James getting into it with several NAIT forwards, causing the temperature of the game to rise. James would head to the box as the the period would come to a close, with the Ooks and Thunderbirds exchanging heated words between benches. Officials would then direct both teams to their respective dressing rooms before any chaos could erupt.
The two teams would take the ice for the third period with UBC leading NAIT 3-1, while holding a 22-14 advantage in shots. Despite only facing fourteen shots through forty minutes UBC goalie Patrick Dea would make a couple great saves to start the third, including a point plank blocker save on NAIT’s #18 Jake Mykitiuk. After Ooks #8 Jesse Roach would head to the box for tripping, UBC’s powerplay would then go back to work, with the T-Birds continuing to their strong puck movement in the offensive zone before eventually tallying their fourth goal of the night.
About midway through the frame, Michael Stenerson, a product of the University of Vermont (NCAA) would steal the puck from the Ooks’ defense and walk in all alone, only to be denied by Gora for his best save of the night. NAIT would apply some late pressure but it wouldn’t be enough, as the Thunderbirds would go on to win by a final of 4-1 to take both games of their two game preseason set against the Ooks.

Scouting Report:

NAIT #20, Devon McAndrews
Heavy 6’4 foward dominant on the forecheck, ability to get under the skin of opponents with big hits, underrated speed.

UBC #44, Maxwell James
Physical all game, strong along the boards, freed up several loose pucks for his linemates and made some great passes for the Thunderbirds.

Quick Notes:

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Too big of a gap between D and forwards, strong forecheck but neutral zone play needs to improve.

UBC Thunderbirds
Capitalized on opportunities, successfully opened up the opposing defense with cross-slot pass. Could do a better job clogging up the slot defensively.