SASKATOON – Despite surrendering a three-goal lead, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds bounced back for to score a late goal to defeat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 4-3 Saturday night at Rutherford Rink.
Austin Vetterl finished off a cross-ice pass from Manraj Hayer at 14:16 of the third period to notch the game-winner. Vetterl's one time shot just cleared the pad of Jordon Cooke who was sliding to his right on the play.
With the win the Thunderbirds improve to 7-2-3 on the season and hand the 10-2-0 Huskies just their second loss of the season.
UBC looked like they might run away with the second game of the weekend series after scoring three goals in the opening period.
Luke Lockhart scored the first of three straight T-Bird goals on the power-play at 1:52. Lockhart's shot from the faceoff dot to Cooke's right ramped off a Huskie defenceman's stick to the top of the net.
UBC outshot 17-9 in the first period and broke through again at 16:45. Again benefitting from the deflection off of a Huskie defender, UBC's Neil Manning scored his second of the weekend with a point shot that hit a pair of Huskies before sneaking under the pads of Cooke.
Less than a minute later Chase Clayton made it three straight T-Bird goals. Clayton tipped Josh Connolly's point shot on net, which was originally saved by Cooke, before pouncing on the rebound and sliding it home.
Saskatchewan would come alive in the second period. Starting the period on a 5-on-3 advantage, the Huskies controlled the puck in the UBC end for the opening few minutes of the second. The Huskies pressure would pay off as they scored a pair of second period goals while outshooting the T-Birds 17-2 in the period.
Jordan Fransoo's slap shot from the point squeaked through Matt Hewitt's pads before stalling in the crease, inches in front of the goal line. Jesse Ross got free to slip behind the T-Birds netminder to tap in his fourth goal of the season at 11:55.
The Huskies would cut the deficit to one, minutes later. Jesse Forsberg threw a shot on net that was initially stopped by Hewitt with a quick kick save. Fortunately for the Huskies Levi Cable was on the doorstep to deposit his fifth of the season to the back of the UBC net at 15:49.
The T-Birds held on for the rest of the period, despite being badly outshot, to lead 3-2 entering the third.
In the third Cable would solve Hewitt for his second of the night, this time while shorthanded. Fransoo picked up his third assist of the night as he sent a pass off the glass that bounced onto the stick of Cable in behind the UBC defence. Cable walked into the T-Birds zone and blasted a slap shot blocker side on Hewitt to tie it up at three.
Saskatchewan nearly took the lead moments later when Parker Thomas was sprung on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box, but Hewitt came up with the big save on the breakaway.
Hewitt finished with 35 saves in goal for the T-Birds, while Cooke made 18 for Saskatchewan.
The Huskies visit the Manitoba Bisons take their 10-2 record on the road next weekend, while the Thunderbirds return home to host the Alberta Golden Bears.