Thunderbirds keep playoff hopes alive; finish off Cougars 2-1 for second straight night

Thunderbirds keep playoff hopes alive; finish off Cougars 2-1 for second straight night

Justin McCaffrey, Mount Royal Sports Information 

CALGARY – The UBC Thunderbirds kept their playoff hopes alive on Saturday afternoon after completing a weekend sweep of the Mount Royal Cougars. UBC won 2-1 for the second night in a row on goals from Luke Lockhart and Joe Antilla. Cam Maclise scored the lone goal for Mount Royal in their sixth straight loss.

Saturday's matinee affair had a distinct playoff atmosphere surrounding it. UBC was literally fighting for their playoff lives and Mount Royal was trying to right the ship in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The Cougars controlled the play early but yielded the first goal of the game.

Luke Lockhart scored his ninth of the season to open the scoring for UBC at the 8:04 mark of the first. The Thunderbirds bench erupted and the momentum seemed to swing in their favour.

Cam Maclise scored on the power play to even the game at one, with under five minutes left in the period. Connor Rankin set up the goal with his league-leading 35th point of the season.

Fifth-year senior Joe Antilla broke the deadlock for UBC with a power play goal at the 5:00 minute mark. After Mount Royal hit the crossbar, Antilla and the Thunderbirds went the other way and stormed the crease. With Colin Cooper down and out, Antilla shoveled the puck under him to restore the UBC lead.

David Stephens nearly tied the game in the third period but was absolutely robbed by Derek Dun. The Cougars pressure was relentless but Derek Dun remained un-phased. Dun finished the game with 38 saves, allowing just the one goal.

Mount Royal drops to 15-11-2 while the Thunderbirds improve to 12-13-3 after the weekend sweep.

Mount Royal will remain at home next weekend to open up the first round of the Canada West Playoffs against the Manitoba Bisons. The best-of-three series will begin Friday night at 7:00pm MST at Flames Community Arenas.

UBC awaits the results of this evening's game between Lethbridge and Saskatchewan to decide their playoff fate.