The UBC Thunderbirds had their home opening weekend as they hosted the Mount Royal University Cougars for a two night series. Rather than a regular game report, Van City Sport is trying something a little different. Here is the first edition of Bird Bites! We hope it’s enjoyable.
Best “YES!”: The UBC hockey teams have not drawn much of a crowd for regular season games. The only time last season that the Thunderbirds drew over 1,000 spectators was at their highly advertised “Winter Classic” event which has regularly packed the stadium since its inaugural game in 2015. Friday night however was an anomaly, the Thunderbird Athletes Council promoted the season opener very successfully, leading to a record crowd of 1,030 to cheer the ‘Birds on to their 3-1 victory
Best start: Friday’s Early Goal
You would not wanted to have been late to Friday’s game, as the scoring began just 40 seconds into the game. After winning the opening faceoff the Thunderbirds brought the puck back into their end before putting together a sequence of quick passes leading to an early goal from defenseman Tanner Faith. The quick worked series of passes that led up to the goal were a prime example of how valuable the extended training camp and practice time has been to UBC. The goal sent the larger than usual crowd into a frenzy which drove the energy of the night.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>🏒 MHKY | It's a 1-0 lead for <a href=”https://twitter.com/UBCMHKY?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UBCMHKY</a> over the <a href=”https://twitter.com/MRUCougars?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MRUCougars</a> through 20 mintues after <a href=”https://twitter.com/AVetts94?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@AVetts94</a> finished this <a href=”https://twitter.com/mikestenerson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@mikestenerson</a> feed just 40 seconds in! <a href=”https://twitter.com/shodges13?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@shodges13</a> picks up his 1st point as a 'Bird with the 2nd assist. Shots are 12-9 UBC <a href=”https://t.co/70K53V3RIu”>pic.twitter.com/70K53V3RIu</a></p>— UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ubctbirds/status/1050941077253804033?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 13, 2018</a></blockquote>
Weirdest “ummm?” : Friday’s affair was well attended. one of the draws? The festivities. There was road hockey, bean bag throwing and the oddest of them all massive beer pong. I guess it is a university but this is weird nonetheless.
Best hit: Tanner Faith rocks your world
Boom! it was a penalty, but boy oh boy was it a big hit. This weekend had a lot of roughness, but Thunderbird defenseman Tanner Faith had the biggest hit of the series.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Tanner Faith had a massive hit this weekend for <a href=”https://twitter.com/ubctbirds?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ubctbirds</a> <a href=”https://t.co/GzUKWEeVvT”>pic.twitter.com/GzUKWEeVvT</a></p>— Benjamin Steiner (@BenSteiner00) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BenSteiner00/status/1051335314516529152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 14, 2018</a></blockquote>
Best story: Veterel Weekend
Austin Vetterel is no stranger to scoring in front of home fans. The fourth year forward has become a crowd favorite during his time here. He had three goals this weekend, including this snipe to seal the second win on Saturday.
Although the Surrey native got the goals, he was quick to credit his linemates for his success this weekend. “Hodgies a great player and I’ve played with Stenerson for a while, we just seem to click and that got me on the scoresheet”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>🏒 MHKY | A weekend sweep and a 4-0 start to the season for <a href=”https://twitter.com/UBCMHKY?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UBCMHKY</a> with a 2-1 win over the <a href=”https://twitter.com/MRUCougars?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MRUCougars</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/AVetts94?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@AVetts94</a> gets the deflection for his 2nd of the game and 5th of the season for the game winner <a href=”https://t.co/MAK7HYrAOI”>pic.twitter.com/MAK7HYrAOI</a></p>— UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ubctbirds/status/1051250941888843776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 13, 2018</a></blockquote>
There’s no doubt this line will continue to find success for the Thunderbirds this season. Steven Hodges is a great addition to the team and will only make the Stenerson/Veterel duo better.
Best Stat: 28 penalties over 2 games
Discipline was an issue for both teams. but UBC’s special teams were up to the task. the penalty kill did not allow a powerplay goal against MRU, while the powerplay chipped in with two big goals of their own.
” our special teams are always ready, and our powerplay did well all weekend” said UBC head coach Sven Butenschon after Saturday’s game. He also mentioned that the refs at home seem to call penalties pretty tightly but he doesn’t want his players to stop finishing their checks to avoid the penalties.
Regardless of light calls or not, 28 penalties between the two teams over six periods of play is a lot of special team time.
Best debut: Clayton Kehler
Clayton Kehler is a young one, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t effect the game. His home debut was one of the brightest of the weekend, and his goal celebration has become a popular photo among the team. the former Tri-City American is now the twitter profile photo of the team, and has become a fan favourite after opening weekend.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>🏒 MHKY | <a href=”https://twitter.com/EightCkehler?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@EightCkehler</a>’s first goal with <a href=”https://twitter.com/UBCMHKY?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UBCMHKY</a> was a big one, on the power play for what was the eventual game winner! <a href=”https://t.co/oOeR1qdixc”>pic.twitter.com/oOeR1qdixc</a></p>— UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ubctbirds/status/1050979509757829120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 13, 2018</a></blockquote>
Biggest exhale: Vetterel goal after 30 shots and 4 powerplays on Saturday
The Thunderbirds came into this weekend with a 50% sucess rate on the powerplay. with all the penalties this weekend one would expect that UBC would have found it easy to score with the man advantage. this was not the case. The Thunderbirds did get a powerplay goal in Friday’s game, but their powerplay Saturday struggled. UBC had fallen behind 1-0 Saturday and their powerplay kept on failing through its first three attempts. It wasn’t for lack of effort though, the team did get 12 shots over those three powerplays but weren’t able to score. Finally the home team was able to exhale as Austin Vetterel got the tying goal on their fourth powerplay of the night.
Best lol: Shouting SFU Fan
Among the drunken students attending Friday nights game was a passionate SFU fan. Chants of “Let’s go Clan” and “Go SFU” roared from the large beer pong setup. Hopefully this student didn’t drive to SFU after as they had clearly had a little too much fun.
Following Sundays win the Thunderbirds were playing country music in the locker room.
“We don’t usually listen to country” Vetterel said “Tonight is an exception, we’re making fun of the guys who paid $100 to go listen to country tonight at BC Place when they could just hear it here for free ”
Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt were performing Saturday night at BC Place, and a few of the Thunderbird players had paid a substantial price for tickets to the concert.