Thunderbirds Fall to Pandas, Split Series

Title: Thunderbirds Fall to Pandas, Split Series
Date: November 24, 2012
Original Source: UBC Thunderbirds
Synopsis: This post-game report was for the Nov. 24 women’s ice hockey game between UBC and Alberta.

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds lost 2-1 to the Alberta Pandas Saturday night, splitting the weekend series. With one win apiece, the teams remain separated by just a point in the Canada West conference, with Alberta in third and UBC in fourth.

BOX SCORE

A banged up UBC squad hung tough against a hungry Alberta team and withstood early Panda pressure to turn things around in the second half of the game and almost complete the comeback.

“They’re a great team,” said head coach Graham Thomas. “I thought we played a lot better in the second half of the game. The girls really stepped up.”

Alberta came out aggressive, having lost four straight, and maintained pressure early. Their active forecheck and timely pinching from defenders in the offensive zone made it difficult for UBC to utilize their transition game, keeping the Thunderbirds pinned in their own zone more than they would have liked.

For the second night in a row, Alberta scored early to take a 1-0 lead. Janelle Malcolm stepped out of the corner and shot five-hole on UBC goalie Danielle Dube (Vancouver, BC), who couldn’t quite squeeze the pads tight enough, allowing the puck to trickle through for a goal.

The rest of the first was a heavy Albertan attack, with UBC managing just five shots to the Pandas’ 13. Dube managed to keep UBC in the game for stretches of sustained pressure, including two Alberta power plays.

In the second, Alberta once again struck early when Brandi Bass sent a fluttering wrist shot from the point that got through a screen in front and into the top corner, making it 2-0.

UBC felt their backs against the wall and began to turn the tide, leveraging strong neutral zone play for a couple of scoring chances. UBC came out firing early in the third period as well, but Alberta maintained composure and threatened to add to the lead on multiple occasions.

With a minute to go in the third, UBC pulled the goalie in an attempt to make a comeback. With 28 seconds left, a scramble in front of Alberta goalie Lindsey Post saw the puck land on the stick of Tatiana Rafter (Winnipeg, MB), who buried it to make it a one-goal game.

The Thunderbirds simply ran out of time after that, and Alberta hung on to win 2-1.

The split is bittersweet for the Thunderbirds, who played well against a very good team but wanted to come out with a pair of victories.

The Thunderbirds were without captain Kaitlin Imai (Coquitlam, BC), who was a late scratch,Nicole Saxvik (North Vancouver, BC) and Genevieve Carpenter-Boesch (Regina, SK). The team doesn’t want to make excuses, though, and had a strong showing in a game they could have easily chalked up as a loss due to injuries early on.

“Tonight we had every excuse to pack it in against a tough team,” said Thomas. “We have to keep our heads held high. We have to be proud about that effort, even if it wasn’t the outcome we wanted.”

Next weekend, UBC heads to Regina to play a pair of games, while Alberta returns home to host Manitoba.

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