Cougars come home with big sweep over UBC

Photo: Rich Lam
Photo: Rich Lam

Vancouver, BC – It was a much better effort but the result was the same for the UBC Thunderbirds (5-6-1) who fell 3-1 to the Mount Royal Cougars (6-5-1) suffering a weekend sweep at home for the second time this season.

The 'Birds were better in all facets of the game Saturday afternoon at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. They outshot the Cougars 31-24 and scored on the power play while playing physical and keeping their puck movement simple. But at the end of the day, Mount Royal made good on more of their chances.

"We made sure we didn't get outworked," said Butenschon who was much more pleased with his team's effort compared to Friday night. "We were better with the puck but sometimes even when you follow the game plan and do the right things it's not a guarantee for a win. That's why you got to do it every period, every game all season long, you can't just pick and choose your spots."

The Cougars' suddenly hot power play struck twice for the second straight game. Jesse Lees scored his first of the season with a shot from high in the zone at the 10:30 mark of the second period to tie the game at one.

Still tied in the third, Mount Royal took the lead with a Josh Bly power play goal, his second of the season, at the 9:06 mark. Morgan Zulinick and Grant Baker picked up the helpers.

The Cougars then sealed their sixth win of the season with a Luke Simpson empty netter with 62 seconds remaining.

MRU went 2-for-7 on the man advantage while the 'Birds finished 1-for-6. Rylan Toth made 22 saves and was terrific in goal for UBC but simply didn't get the run support he needed in order to secure his first Canada West win.

"He's been awesome," said Butenschon about his rookie goaltender. "He's so cool back there, he's positionally sound, he keeps us in the game."

For the second straight game it was the Thunderbirds who opened scoring. After Baker was called for tripping late in the first period, the 'Birds pressed hard on the ensuing power play and Michael Stenerson popped home his fifth of the season. Jerret Smith fired the puck on goal from the blue line while Cam Lanigan made the save but couldn't control the rebound which bounced off Austin Vetterl who was able to play it over to Stenerson.

But also for the second straight game the 'Birds wouldn't be able to find the net again while the Cougars scored three unanswered to leap past UBC into sole possession of fifth in the conference.

The loss makes it three straight for the T-Birds who now face a road trip to Edmonton to take on the No. 1 Alberta Golden Bears Fridayand Saturday.

"We know if we play the way we did last night against Alberta we're going to get a rude awakening," said Butenschon. "If we play like we did tonight and with a little more discipline as far as penalties go, you give yourself a chance."