Cougars fall in shootout to Thunderbirds

Cougars fall in shootout to Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER – The UBC Women's Hockey Team (13-5-4-3) needed a shootout to earn a 1-0 win over the visiting Mount Royal Cougars (7-14-3-1) Friday night at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. 

The two teams treated the fans to a thrilling game as the 'Birds looked to bounce back after a difficult weekend where they dropped both games in Saskatchewan.

Mount Royal goaltender Zoe De Beauville was unbeatable until Kathleen Cahoon scored the only goal of the penalty shot contest to hand UBC the victory while Tory Micklash stopped all three Cougar shooters and 11 shots through regulation for her third shutout of the season.

The Birds offence dominated the game as they outshot the visiting Cougars 22-10 through three periods of play. They were led by Cassandra Vilgrain and Ireland Perrott who recorded five shots apiece. Due to strong performances from both goaltenders, three periods were not enough to decide a winner.

The Cougars had the first great scoring chance in the game in the second period. The puck was shot from the point where it deflected off a UBC defenceman before hitting the crossbar and bouncing away from the net.

A couple minutes later, second year 'Birds forward Kenzie Robinson came streaking down the right side of the ice before letting go a snap shot just inside the right faceoff circle that saw the puck strike the left post and kick into the corner. That was the final great chance of the period as the game remained scoreless. 

The third period was much of the same as the other two. The 'Birds offence continued to pepper De Beauville with shots, but the second-year goaltender was up to the challenge turning away every Thunderbird opportunity.

With the teams playing five minutes of four on four, the Birds picked up the pace in the first overtime frame. They held the Cougars to zero shots in the period while they racked up six of their own. However, De Beauville kept her team in the game, stopping every shot to keep the game scoreless.

Thirty seconds into the second overtime period, 'Birds forward Cassandra Vilgrain was sprung on a breakaway. She went to the backhand but De Beauville kept with her and turned away the fantastic opportunity.

With 1:15 left in the frame, the Cougars came down on a 2 on 1. They got an excellent shot off, but like every other chance in the game, it was turned aside.

70 minutes was not enough time to determine a winner as the teams headed to the shootout.

Cahoon was UBC's second shooter and made a Peter Forsberg-esque move to the backhand and slid the puck through De Beauville's legs. That proved to be the game winner as Mount Royals' next shooter was turned away by Micklash, securing the 1-0 victory for the Birds.

"I have that move all the time in my back pocket," said Cahoon. "It worked for me in the past, so I thought I would try it out."

"We really needed to gut that one out to pull that one off," added UBC head coach Graham Thomas who saw his team head to a shootout for a second straight game. "(Celine Tardif) was just a horse back there and (Alexa Ranahan) was just playing super tough. Cahoon was leading the way up front, Vilgrain was flying, you can't ask more from them to show what needs to be done."

Both teams will be back at it Saturday in the second matchup of the weekend series at Doug Mitchell for the final T-Birds home game of the regular season. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. PT.