Thunderbirds Win in Triple Overtime to Stay Alive

Title: Thunderbirds Win in Triple Overtime to Stay Alive
Date: February 23, 2013
Original Source: UBC Thunderbirds
Synopsis: Post-game story on the Feb. 23 playoff game between UBC women’s hockey and Alberta.

VANCOUVER – It wouldn’t be the 2012-13 UBC Thunderbirds if it didn’t come down to the wire.

After three overtime periods and over 94 minutes of play, UBC managed to put away the Regina Cougars, winning 3-2 on Saturday night in the second longest game in league history. The win keeps UBC’s incredible record-setting season alive, tying the best-of-three Canada West semi-final series at one game apiece. Game three will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m. at The Co-Operators Centre in Regina.

Just over four minutes into the third overtime, Rebecca Unrau (Humboldt, SK) fired a shot on net that Tatiana Rafter (Winnipeg, MB) banged home for the winner, sending an elated Thunderbirds group into a frenzy. It seems the team, which had orchestrated the greatest single-season turnaround in CIS women’s hockey history, wasn’t satisfied letting their season fizzle out with a sweep.

“It was relentless,” said head coach Graham Thomas. “It didn’t stop. We were a team that was not going to be defeated. We weren’t going to let anything stand in our way tonight.”

The goal was a long time coming, as the Thunderbirds dominated all three overtime periods. Regina’s Toni Ross stood on her head, though, justifying head coach Sarah Hodges’ decision to change goalies despite the win for Jennifer Schmidt on Friday. Hodges wanted to keep the same goalie rotation she used all season, when Ross and Schmidt split the playing time evenly.

Ross turned away 43 shots in total, including 21 across the overtime periods. Danielle Dube(Vancouver, BC) got the nod once again for UBC, keeping them in it early with 23 saves. Dube, however, wasn’t tested often later in the game as the Thunderbirds dominated, outshooting the Cougars 22-5 in the extra frames.

“It’s some of the best hockey we’ve played this year,” said Thomas. “We consistently moved the puck well and played good pressure defense. That’s the longest stretch we’ve played consistently well for.”

UBC looked in control heading into the third period, up 2-1 on goals from Christi Capozzi(Kelowna, BC) and Emily O’Neill (Oakville, ON). But Kendra Finch tied the game with eight minutes left, necessitating the extra play.

Regina had taken an early lead just two minutes in, finally finding a way to score on a UBC penalty kill that came in a perfect 14-for-14 in the playoffs. Regina finished the game 1-for-3, while UBC was shutout with the man-advantage for the second straight night, going 0-for-4.

On Sunday, UBC will look to replicate the intensity they played with on Saturday with their backs against the wall. The Cougars, however, will also be facing elimination, perhaps increasing the intensity on their side as well.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” said Thomas. “We’ve got to get re-focused quickly, and we want to go in having the exact same mindset as tonight. We want to play that high-energy, spirited hockey again.”

The game will be broadcast on CiTR Radio and CanadaWest.tv.

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