UBC October 20- Quick goals and special teams led the UBC Thunderbirds to a 4-2 comeback victory over the Regina Cougars on Friday night.
The Thunderbirds were quick to open the scoring against Regina, with Devan Fafard getting his first of the season less than two minutes into the period. UBC struggled throughout the period to find offense after Fafard’s opener; largely in part to the outstanding performance of Regina goaltender Michael Herringer. UBC possessed the puck for the majority of the period, and were able to cycle in the offensive zone at even strength, something they had struggled with last week against Calgary. The Cougars would tie it up part-way through the first, after Regina forward Corwin Stelvy’s effort went wide, only to rebound off the boards and onto Hewitt’s skate which redirected the puck into the net. The first period showed many improvements from a UBC team who were simply outclassed by Calgary the prior week.
In the second period, UBC was unable to build on its first period performance. The Cougars were prepared for the up tempo style of play that UBC had shown in the first period. Regina possessed the puck much more effectively than they had in the first, forcing UBC’s Chase Clayton to take a penalty mid-way through the frame. The Thunderbirds’ penalty kill would fail them once again, as they surrendered the lead when Fafard’s failed clearance went to the stick of Tyler King who whistled the puck through Hewitt’s legs. Tyler Sandhu had a chance to tie things up for the home side, when he sent his shot wide of the net with 2 minutes remaining in the period. The second period would end 2-1 in favour of the visitors, despite UBC’s best efforts.
The Thunderbirds took hold of the game in the third period, scoring a pair of powerplay goals within 40 seconds of each other, followed by an Austin Vetterel tally to extend the host’s lead to two goals. Matt Hewitt would weather a late flurry of shots from the Cougars, as UBC sealed the 4-2 win over Regina.
Herringer would stop 26 shots on the night, while Hewitt dazzled in the UBC goal, turning aside 36 shots. Following his all-star performance, Hewitt spoke of the mentorship and encouragement he received from goaltender coach Alex Auld saying “he encouraged me this week to stick with the program and work on good habits and tracking pucks.”
“Yeah we scored the goals and we won the hockey game but for me, the habits just got better and the battles got better and we got stronger on pucks” UBC head coach Steve Butenschon said about his team’s complete performance in the final period.
After UBC went 2 for 6 with the man advantage, which was their best power play performance so far this season, Butenschon said that “[w]e talked about how important special teams was going to be and it’s nice to see those guys get rewarded.”
The win is UBC’s six straight over the Cougars, and they will have the chance to make it seven with a win in Saturday’s rematch. Puck drop is set for 2pm at Thunderbird Arena.
With files from Jeff Sargeant gothunderbirds.ca