September 29 2017 Vancouver – The Thunderbirds welcomed the visiting Queen’s Gaels to town for a two game pre-season series. As UBC looked to build on their 8-3 trouncing of SFU in last week’s Captains Cup meeting. The Thunderbirds gave Queen’s all they had, but a shining performance In the Gaels net, and defensive errors from the Thunderbirds led to their 2-0 demise at the feet of the Gaels.
UBC came out of the first period on level terms with the Gael’s, despite looking defeated early in the game. Queen’s played a much faster, hard hitting game than UBC was prepared for. Much like what a game in January would show, rather than a pre-season matchup.
Matt Hewitt got the start in goal for the Thunderbirds, and came up large for them many times in the first period. As UBC was bullied off the puck and forced into turnovers, Queen’s was able to create many chances including three breakaways, all being stopped by Hewitt.
Neither team was able to stake their claim on the game after the first period. UBC looked unprepared for the physical test of Queen’s, losing out on many loose pucks, boards battles and being forced into turnovers in the defensive end. The period ended 0-0. UBC finished the period with 5 shots, a miniscule amount compared the 12 shots Queen’s managed.
The home side came into the second period looking more prepared for the battle and speed of Queen’s. The second period started with a bang, with both teams picking up penalties in the first three minutes. Neither side was able to find the net shorthanded. The most notable chance shorthanded came from Queen’s forward Frankie Villardie who found himself in space at the top of the crease, but was unable to hit the target with his shot. Both teams came out of the early penalties unscathed.
Queen’s opened the scoring nine minutes into the second period, when Patrick Sanvido sprung former Kingston Frontenac Darcy Greenaway on a breakaway, slipping the puck through the legs of Hewitt. The hunderbirds would get first power play of the game ten minutes into the second, but were unable to find any offensive time on a power play that went largely un-noticed.
An abundance of penalties were called with three minutes remaining in the period, when a fight broke out in front of the UBC goal between Duncan Cambell and Devan Fafard. Following Campbell shoving Fafards head into the ice, Hewitt came into the scrum to break them up only to get himself a penalty. The Kingston boys were unable to capitalize on the power play, leaving the score at 1-0 heading into the third.
Tempers started to flare halfway through the third period, with neither team able to find any sort of chances in the first 10 minutes. The first chance of the period came with nine minutes remaining, when UBC’s Michael Stenerson fought the puck up the boards and sent a pass across the net to Austin Glover whose shot was deflected just wide of the goal.
Rather than tying it up, UBC was caught sleeping allowing North Vancouver native Eric Margo to score on the breakaway to give the Gaels some breathing room with three minutes remaining. UBC was unable to find any other chances in the dying minutes, dropping the game 2-0 to Queen’s and falling to a 1-1 record on the pre-season.
“He made the saves he needed to and kept us in it and unfortunately he didn’t get any offensive help tonight.” UBC head coach Steve Butenschon said about veteran goaltender Matt Hewitt, who was making his first start of the pre-season.
Butenschon also spoke to his team’s softness on the puck in the first two periods, and their hard work in the third period, saying “We thought we could make the nice plays through the neutral zone and we just had too many turnovers. In the third period we chipped the puck up, got pucks deep, got a fore-check going and created a few more chances that way and ended up getting more shots on net and more scoring chances. The first two periods we were just too soft with the puck.”
UBC meets Trinity Western in their final pre-season test and deciding match of the Captain’s Cup on Saturday September 30th. Puck drop is set for 2pm at UBC.