After a two and a half hour snow delay, action on Hawkings Field heated up quickly on Friday morning as the UBC Thunderbirds’ offence powered its way to a 4-2 victory over the tournament host Calgary Dinos in the first match of day two at the CIS – FHC women’s field hockey championship.
The win puts second-seeded UBC at 3-0 in the preliminary round, guaranteeing the Canada West champion T-Birds a spot in Sunday’s gold-medal game. Third-ranked Calgary falls to 1-1.
Reigning CIS player of the year Robyn Pendleton, a native of Victoria, scored her second and third goals of the tournament, including a brilliant second half game-winner, as her team exploded for their biggest offensive output since a 4-4 draw with the Dinos nearly a month ago.
“Our structure and passing was better. We took care of the ball better and attacked the way we should, and we got some results,” said UBC head coach Hash Kanjee. “Scoring goals has been an issue this last little while, so it was great to get a few today because that will put us in the right frame of mind going forward.”
The T-Birds can finish no worse than 3-1 after the preliminary round, guaranteeing themselves a spot in Sunday’s championship match at 1 p.m. UBC will play in a third straight national final, having captured a record 12th McCrae Cup in 2009 with a 6-0 win over Alberta, before losing 2-1 to Toronto in last year’s title game.
Toronto, Calgary and Alberta all have just one loss so far and could finish 3-1 as well, but all of those teams still play each other later in the preliminary phase, meaning only one of them can actually finish with three wins.
The T-Birds didn’t mind the extra rest afforded to them by the weather delay, heading into their third match in the last 28 hours. Despite a slow start that saw them fall behind 1-0 in the ninth minute on a breakaway goal by Kaitlyn Longworth, the ‘Birds managed to kick their offence into high gear and charge back with four unanswered.
Abigail Raye tipped Pendleton’s shot home in the 21st minute to get UBC on the board, and then Miranda Mann put the T-Birds in front before half with a low shot from the top of the circle off a penalty corner.
Pendleton then put the ‘Birds up 3-1 in the 42nd minute with a spectacular effort. She was brought down by Dinos goalkeeper Stephanie Petrowitsch as she made her run through defenders in the circle, but still managed to guide the ball home as she fell over the keeper and went to ground.
“That goal was just world class,” Kanjee said.
Pendleton then scored her third of the tournament just three minutes later with a similar run through the circle, this time staying on her feet to navigate around a charging Petrowitsch and net her team’s fourth goal.
Serena Lockhart pulled one back for the Dinos in the 48th minute, capping off a penalty corner with a point blank shot from the side of the net to beat UBC goalkeeper Bea Francisco.
After the game, Kanjee was impressed with the effort of not just his players, but also the Dinos facility staff and volunteers that helped clear the snow-covered field to make the game possible.
“The fact that there was so much snow, I didn’t know how they were going to pull this off and I had visions of us playing on this completely white field. We did have to change the colour of the ball, and they weren’t as nice to play with, but Calgary did an amazing job cleaning up the field.
Next up for UBC is a tilt with fifth-seed Guelph at 12:20 p.m. Mountain on Saturday. The Dinos will look to keep their CIS title hopes alive in a key match today against Toronto at 6 p.m. They finish their round-robin schedule on Saturday morning against Alberta.
“We need to bury our chances, as we had many of them early in the game,” said Dinos head coach Jenn Swagar. “We got a little frustrated and we moved away from the game plan. But we can’t dwell on it, because we’re back at it tonight against Toronto – we need to get back and regenerate and prepare for the next one.”
CGY: Kaitlin Longworth (2), 9th
UBC: Abigail Raye (2), 21st
UBC: Miranda Mann (1), 32nd
UBC: Robyn Pendleton (2), 42nd
UBC: Robyn Pendleton (3), 45th
CGY: Serena Lockhart (1), 48th
UBC: Bea Francisco (W, 70:00, 2 GA, 3-0)
CGY: Steph Petrowitsch (L, 70:00, 4 GA, 1-1)
Players of the Game
UBC: Robyn Pendleton
CGY: Serena Lockhart
Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/fh/index
1. Toronto (OUA champions)
2. UBC (Canada West champions)
3. Calgary (Canada West second place)
4. Guelph (OUA finalists)
5. Alberta (Canada West third place)
STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times local: Mountain Time)
Round-robin standings (after 5 of 10 games)
GP W L T GF GA PTS
1. UBC 3 3 0 0 8 3 9
2. Toronto 2 1 1 0 3 3 3
3. Calgary 2 1 1 0 5 6 3
4. Alberta 1 0 1 0 0 2 0
5. Guelph 2 0 2 0 3 5 0
NOTE: 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie.