Bird Bites: The Penalty Thing, Special Teams lacking and a Little Redemption

2018-11-10 Vancouver- After falling on their face in the first game of the weekend the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team was determined to have a better outing in the series second game. Despite their best efforts, the T-Birds again fell to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for the second night in a row., Though this time only 3-2 in which was a much tighter affair. Hope your feeling hungry because here are tonight’s bites for the ‘Birds.

Best redemption:

Friday night was certainly a wake up call for the Thunderbirds, as they came out firing on all cylinders in for saturday’s game. After  failing to do much of anything offensive friday night, the thunderbirds opened the scoring just 1:40 into the game. Austin Glover got his first goal of the season for the ‘Birds, finishing off a well placed pass from Josh Connolly. The start was certainly what the doctor ordered for UBC as it set them up nicely for the remainder of the matchup.

Best momentum:

UBC’s penalty kill was tested early. The ‘Birds gave up two penalties in quick succession 7:57 and 8:15 into the period. It gave the huskies a 1:08 five on three powerplay, which for the conferences leading power play should be an instant goal. The thunderbirds did an exceptional job at killing the penalty, coming out unscathed and only allowing Saskatchewan to get a single shot. It’s not good the T-Birds spend so much time in the box, but on the bright side; their penalty kill has become quite strong.

Carter Popoff vs Saskatchewan, Nov. 10, 2018

Lessons (not) learned:

Friday night’s affair was littered with penalties for both sides. One would expect both teams to have heard the wrath of their coaching staff when it comes to how much time they spent in the box. I am certain that none of the players came into this game hoping that it would just be a continuation of last night, unfortunately for them; it was. The first period saw both teams get three penalties a piece, some of which were dumb and avoidable. The dumbest was called against UBC’s Adam Rossignol who headlocked and facewashed a huskies defender right in front of the ref. It is the type of the that will un-doubetly draw the ire from some of his teammates. Lucky for him, UBC’s PK is good. At the end of Saturdays game there were a combined 55 minutes of penalties between both teams.

 

Worst moment:

Injuries are never fun, especially when they’re avoidable. Even worse? When they are to the head. UBC’s Michael Stenerson was forced to leave the game three minutes into the second period after receiving a blindsided elbow to the head from Huskies forward Carter Folk. Stenerson fell to the ice and was unable to get up, after a few minutes he was helped off the ice but didn’t return. Folk was thrown out of the game, while his team was assigned a major penalty. The hit led to even more aggravation between the two teams, profanities from the bench could be heard all the way from the press box and players began to retaliate after every whistle. The retaliation and combined frustration did not lend itself well to anyone hoping to see some even strength hockey.

 

Best “Better than last night”

It took the Thunderbirds an entire game to get 14 shots on friday night, only one of which came in the third. Saturday was a different story, UBC hit the 14 benchmark with seven minutes left in the second period and were neck in neck with the Huskies shot count throughout the afternoon. Not conceding six goals could also go into this section, but being able to shoot the puck was certainly a positive to come from the game.

Breaking the curse:

After 14 penalties throughout 43 minutes, neither team had much going for them on the powerplay. It wasn’t until their eighth attempt with the man advantage did the Huskies find the back of the net. It was a shot from the “Ovechkin” zone from the right circle which clipped the underside of the crossbar before settling in behind Dea. UBC’s PK was exemplary until this point, only bending, but eventually it was bound to break.

Max James vs Saskatchewan, Nov .10, 2018

Open the floodgates!

After getting their first goal on the powerplay, The Huskies attack went wild. They put up six shots within a two minute span, and scored three goals in fast fashion to turn the game on its head. Once the second one went in UBC seemed to have all the air kicked out of them, allowing a third to go in and not giving much response for the remainder of the game, although UBC did score in the last 30 seconds; the game was already out of reach.

Weekends Wackiest Whaaaaat?

With 41 penalties called over the two games, you would think there would be an abundance of power play goals. Think again, only two powerplay goals were scored between the two teams, both of which belonging to the Huskies. That’s an insanely low percentage for both power plays, and should be an area of concern for both coaches.

Next up:

The two loses at the hands (paws?) of the Huskies stretches UBC’s losing streak to three games, which matches the longest losing streak from last season. The Thunderbird’s remain in fifth place thanks to other results around the Canada West but see their record fall to 5-5. On the docket is a trip east to take on the University of Manitoba Bisons who sit in last place in the league after 10 games with a 2-8 record. It is a golden opportunity for the ‘Birds to get a couple wins and build some confidence heading into the rest of the season.

 

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