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The UBC Thunderbirds practicing at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds will hit the road for the first time this season as they take on the Mount Royal Cougars this weekend. Both teams opened the 2018 Canada West campaign with a 1-1-0 split. UBC bounced back with a 3-1 win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday, and they will be looking to add to that momentum in Alberta.

“We saw some good things,” Coach Graham Thomas explained. “We still saw some areas that we need to tidy up. It’s early on in the year, that’s okay. We’re not panicking at all, but we definitely need a challenge. We need to be better, and we need to look at ourselves, all of us. We’ve got to be a little more disciplined in certain situations, and also we have to be better on special teams.”

The Thunderbirds 3 goals came on 74 shots over both games vs Lethbridge. A 2.46 team shooting percentage is a sign that the floodgates haven’t opened just yet. While UBC is generating traffic, buzzing, and creating top quality scoring opportunities, the puck just isn’t finding a home in the net.

“It’s one of those tough things,” said Thomas. “We were happy with the shots we had, chances we had. Capitalizing on those chances and converting them is where we still need a little more focus, and work. That comes back to ownership and accountability.

As a coach, that’s one of the hardest situations. We’re getting shots, chances, and we want to be careful not to blow everything up, because we’re doing some really good things. At the same time. We can’t be happy with not converting on a lot of those chances.”

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UBC Thunderbirds forward, Emily Costales. Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Vancouver native, Emily Costales, has found herself on a scoring line with Mathea Fischer, and Hannah Clayton-Carroll. While the crafty veteran hasn’t hit the score sheet yet. She has no doubt the goals will eventually start to pile up.

“We’ve been given the chances and opportunities,” Costales echoed. “It’s just capitalizing on that, which will come in time. It’s definitely trying to put the puck in the net, and do what you have to do, to get the win. Just put pucks in the net, and hopefully that comes through.”

Mount Royal could be exactly what UBC needs to turn on the red light, but it won’t be easy. This is a hungry bunch of Cougars who will be motivated to beat a Thunderbirds team that swept them in the Canada West quarterfinal playoffs last February.

“Their roster has improved,” Thomas revealed. “They had a good preseason. We’re just getting into the video now. They’re going to be good games, spirited games. From us ending their season last year, I think they’ll be a little bit ready for that, and a little bit extra fired up.”

There is nothing like renewing acquaintances with a playoff foe. It’s still quite early in the season, but points in October count just the same as they do during the stretch drive at the end of the season.

Whether it be the Cougars, Huskies, or Pronghorns, it’s all the same to Costales. She wants to win, and improve no matter who UBC is facing at the other end of the rink. It’s always about taking that next step, and doing what the Thunderbirds do best.

“I think we have to come to every game no matter who we’re playing with the same mindset,” Costales said. “Go out there, play our best, and not really worry about our opponent. Give all that we can, so we don’t have any regrets later on.”

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. As long as UBC continue to stay focused, the offensive will come. It’s only a matter of when, not if. Mount Royal will have to hope the Thunderbirds aren’t ready to prey on the Cougars.

 

UBC Thunderbirds at Mount Royal Cougars, Friday October 12 at 6:00 pm pt

UBC Thunderbirds at Mount Royal Cougars, Saturday October 13 at 2:00 pm pt

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