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UBC Thunderbirds forward, Hannah Clayton-Carroll Tuesday, October 2, 2018

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The UBC Thunderbirds will drop the puck on the 2018 – 2019 season on Friday night at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre against the Lethbridge Pronghorns. UBC will be looking to build momentum, and start the season on a positive note. Preseason is done. It’s all about stepping on the ice for that first big game.

“Everybody is very motivated to play this weekend,” UBC Coach Graham Thomas said. “Very excited for this season. The buzz around this group in the locker room, and on and off the ice. We’re really gelling and meshing. We’re further ahead than we were last year. We’re more mature as a team, and more focused. We have some good new players, and some compliments. All around, we’re going to be a solid team this year. We’re really excited to get it started, finally.”

The Thunderbirds will feature four new rookies this season. Forwards, Emma Hall, and Ashley McFadden, as well as defenders, Hannah Koroll, and Rylind MacKinnon. The mix of veterans and new faces is sure to add balance, and depth to a strong Thunderbirds lineup.

“They’re fitting in well,” forward, Hannah Clayton-Carroll said. “We’ve got a couple of good ones, Rylind. She has a lot more power, and we have Hannah. The back-end is looking good. Front end, we’ve got a little more skill. We’ve got two forwards that have really good hands, and are able to play the puck really well. It’s going to be nice.”

Clayton-Carroll is expected to start the season on a line with Mathea Fischer, and Emily Costales. UBC will need that trio to produce a lot of offence this season. UBC had difficulty scoring goals down the stretch last season. They’ll need to ripple the twine with  more regularity this season. Especially in October with six of eight home games at UBC.

So… where are the goals going to come from this season?

“There’s going to be a change a little bit in offensive strategy,” Thomas revealed. “I think some of the players being a little bit older, more mature, and focused, will be ready. I think the offence is going to come balanced. We have four lines that can contribute. I think our D can contribute as well. Our offensive production has been a focus for us, and it’s going to be up this year.”

Scoring is going to have to come from everyone on the roster. There’s no superstar sniper coming to save the day. It’s got to be scoring by committee, with everyone chipping in. Clayton-Carroll was tied for first in Canada West with 12 goals last season. Heading into this season she knows that it’s got to be team scoring all around.

“Anyone can score. Anyone has a chance to score on this team, to be honest.”

UBC finished 3rd in Canada West last season with a 19-5-4 record and 56 points. Lethbridge had a 5-18-5 record, 8th spot, and 18 points. As the two teams get set to start the season. The Thunderbirds aren’t taking their opponent lightly.

“I think they’re going to try and keep it a real defensive game,” Thomas admitted. “They’re going to go at us hard. They always have great goaltending, so that can always make a big difference. We’ve always had battles with them. They always play really well against us. They’re well coached, and they’ll be prepared. They’ve played a lot of games in the preseason, so they’ll come in with a lot of games under their belt, and that’ll kind of lean towards their favour. We’ve got to make sure we stick to our game plan. Come out hungry, and ready to attack right from the puck drop.”

The Thunderbirds went 4-0-0 last season against the Pronghorns out scoring them 8 – 4. Each game was a one goal margin of victory for UBC. It’s going to be another tight battle, and since it’s Canada West. Things could get a little chippy.

“I can see it getting a little bit physical,” Clayton-Carroll said. “I don’t know about the score. Having a physical game is always exciting. It add a little bit more fun for us and the fans. It just gets a little more intense which is nice.”

It’s getting a little cooler outside, leaves are falling, everything is spiced, and hockey season is finally here. Sticks have been taped, skates sharpened, and the UBC Thunderbirds are ready to go.

 

UBC Thunderbirds vs Lethbridge Pronghorns, Friday October 5 at 7:00 pm pt

UBC Thunderbirds vs Lethbridge Pronghorns, Saturday October 6 at 2:00 pm pt

 

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