Thunderbirds Lose Game One in Canada West Semis

Title: Thunderbirds Lose Game One in Canada West Semis
Date: February 22, 2013
Original Source: UBC Thunderbirds
Synopsis: Post-game story on the Feb. 22 playoff game between UBC women’s hockey and Alberta.

Close doesn’t always count for much, but the UBC Thunderbirds hope to learn a lesson from Friday night’s 2-1 loss to Regina.

The first game of the Canada West semi-final series, which is a best-of-three affair, was tight throughout. The Thunderbirds, however, turned it on when it mattered, outplaying and out-chancing the host Cougars for the majority of the third period. In the end, though, UBC came up short, failing to capitalize on their pressure.

The Thunderbirds had multiple chances late, including a Genevieve Carpenter-Boesch(Regina, SK) opportunity in front of the net and a Stephanie Schaupmeyer (Kelowna, BC) chance off of a turnover. Cougar goaltender Jennifer Schmidt stood her ground, dealing with the pressure and the traffic and turning away 15 shots on the evening.

The late UBC pressure ended with roughly a minute to go and their net empty for an extra attacker, as the Thunderbirds took an undisciplined penalty, slashing at the Regina goaltender with the puck covered.

“It was frustrating,” said head coach Graham Thomas. “I thought the refereeing was pretty good throughout the game, letting the girls play. But to call that at the end, it was frustrating.”

The penalty slowed the momentum but perhaps more importantly cost them 30 seconds of 6-on-5 time, as the faceoff moved to the UBC zone and they had to put Danielle Dube(Vancouver, BC) back between the pipes.

“We weren’t prepared to play 60 minutes,” said Thomas. “I’m disappointed with the entire team effort. We’re better than that. We had a really good start and we let them take the momentum back. They outworked us and they wanted the puck more than we did.”

Regina had opened the scoring in the first when Gina Campbell beat Dube. Campbell then added another for a 2-0 lead in the second period. From there, the reigning Canada West Player of the Week shut the door, turning away 26 shots in total.

Trailing by two, Rebecca Unrau (Humboldt, SK) scored late in the second period to make it a one-goal deficit heading into intermission. Unrau was a surprise addition to the line-up, having been ruled questionable all week with an upper body injury that kept her out of last Saturday’s game.

Her return gave the team a morale boost and some additional scoring up front, but not even her presence could get the power play going. UBC’s top-ranked man-advantage ended up 0-for-3 on the night. The penalty kill, however, also shut out Regina three times, improving their mark to 14-for-14 in the post-season.

UBC will look to regroup and build off of their third period heading into Saturday’s second game of the series. Coming off their first loss since Jan. 18, it will be interesting to see how the team responds.

“It wasn’t our best and we need to be better,” said Thomas. “This might be the best thing for us. We may have gotten a little overconfident and this is a wake up call. This will be a good test and a good challenge.”

The Thunderbirds will have the chance to bounce back and respond on Saturday at 5 p.m. when the puck drops for game two. It’s win or go home for UBC, who will look to keep their record-setting season alive at The Co-Operators Centre in Regina.

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