Posts Tagged ‘UBC Thunderbirds vs McGill University’


UBC Thunderbirds goalie, Amelia Boughn in action vs Queen’s Gaels on Thursday, March 16.

VANCOUVER, B.C – It’s going to be a marquee matchup on Saturday afternoon at the USports Nationals, when the UBC Thunderbirds take on the McGill Martlets. The winner will earn a spot in the championship final on Sunday at the Strathcona Paper Centre, in Napanee, Ontario.

Thursday’s quarterfinals saw the number one ranked Thunderbirds dispatch the hosts, Queen’s Gaels with a 2-1 win. McGill’s Gabrielle Davidson scored a pair of goals to help the number four seed Martlets defeat StFX 3-1.

This will be the third meeting between UBC and McGill in the last year. The Thunderbirds won 4-2 in a quarterfinals game last year at nationals. It was an intense, and physical game that had a lot of feeling. UBC also defeated McGill 3-1, during a preseason tournament this past fall.

UBC Coach, Graham Thomas is expecting a far different game on Saturday.

“There a different team than we saw in September,” said Thomas. “They didn’t have (Gabrielle) Davidson, and (Mélodie) Daoust in the lineup. They’re back ,and their seniors are really strong players for them. We’ll have to be very sharp. They’ve got a strong freshman goalie (Tricia Deguire). It’s going to be two really good teams going after it. Great program, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

Neither coach wants to provide bulletin board material for the other team. While a rivalry might be brewing, McGill Coach, Peter Smith wasn’t taking any bait.

“Yeah, we play them three times in around a year,” said Smith when reached by phone. “We’re happy to play them again. They’re a good team, and we like playing good teams. It’s all about what happens on Saturday. We’ll be ready to go, and they’ll be ready to go.”

Smith isn’t concerned with the Thunderbirds number one ranking they’ve had since October. McGill won’t be in awe by the Thunderbirds accomplishments. Once the puck drops, rankings and awards make no difference.

“It’s similar to playing any team,” admitted said Smith. “We want to be prepared and be ready to go. We don’t spend a lot of time looking at rankings and seeding.”

McGill’s high-powered offence features 2017 Player of the Year finalist, Mélodie Daoust, Olivia Atkinson, Marie-Philip Lavoie, Gabrielle Davidson, and rookie Jade Downie-Landry. Martlets goalkeeper, Tricia Deguire was named 2017 USports Rookie of the Year. McGill is stacked, and will look to play a high-tempo game. Playing a full sixty-minutes remains a question for a team that’s still very young.

“I think the hallmark of our team, we want to play fast, and play with good structure,” said Smith. “We need to stick to the plan from start to finish, and play fast. We’re a fast team and that’s what we want to do.”

UBC will feature their own dangerous offence. Defender, Kelly Murray was named to the All-Canadian First Team, and Cassandra Vilgrain was named to the All-Canadian Second Team. Captain, Stephanie Schaupmeyer, Nicole Saxvik, and Kathleen Cahoon are also ones to watch. Saxvik scored the wining goal vs Queen’s with 2:43 left in the third period.

“They’re a very good team,” said Saxvik, when asked about playing McGill. “It’s going to be battle. We have to do our homework. Hopefully the puck will go our way.”

The McGill program has a long storied history, and a high prestige across Canada. They’ve always been a program that other universities want to emulate with multiple national championships. UBC is looking to take the next step with their first national championship.

“It’s two really competitive programs,” said Thomas. “McGill is one of the most decorated programs in Canada. They want to keep their dynasty going. You have a program like ours, up and coming, and we want to accomplish what they have accomplished.” 

The Thunderbirds will be looking to get some rest for goalkeeper, Amelia Boughn who battled food poisoning on the eve of the tournament. Boughn toughed it out, and made 17 saves vs Queen’s. She earned praise while playing on adrenaline, and not much else.

“We’re really happy to get some food and fluids into her,” said Thomas of Boughn. “She’s just incredible. Yeah, it was great to see. It was her call. She’s had a quarter of a bagel, and a little bit of chicken noodle soup, and not a lot of sleep. It’s important to give her some rest.”

UBC and McGill will be looking to see which team can post a ‘bagel’ in net, and which team can turn up the offence. It’s going to be an exciting game with two fantastic programs battling for a spot in the USports Championship game.

USports National Championship Schedule. All Times: ET

Friday, March 17

11:00 a.m. Quarter-final 3: No.3 Saint Mary’s vs No.6 Alberta

3:00 p.m. Quarter-final 4: No. 2 Guelph vs. No. 7 Concordia

7:00 p.m. Consolation 1: Queen’s vs. StFX

Saturday, March 18

11:00 a.m. Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4

3:00 p.m. Semifinal 1: McGill vs UBC

7:00 p.m. Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4

Sunday, March 19

11:00 a.m. 5th-place game

3:00 a.m. Bronze

7:00 p.m. Final
















The UBC Thunderbirds will host an east vs west showcase series this weekend.

The UBC Thunderbirds will host an East vs West pre-season showcase this weekend at The Doug.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The CIS Hockey season is right around the corner and teams from across Canada are gearing up for pre-season games and the start of hockey season from coast to coast. The UBC Thunderbirds will be looking to recapture the excitement that helped them win silver at the CIS National Championship last March.

The Thunderbirds will be hosting an East vs West pre-season showcase at The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre Arena this weekend. McGill University, Western University, and the University of Calgary all competed with UBC at nationals. They are also joined at the showcase by Mount Royal University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Each team will play three games from September 16 – 18.

UBC Thunderbirds winger Emily O’Neill will be entering her fifth year of eligibility this season and the Oakville, Ontario native can’t wait to get back on the ice against some unfamiliar opponents.

“Yeah, I think we’re all looking forward to it,” said O’Neill. “It will be a challenge, definitely. It’s always exciting to play the teams that we don’t normally get to play during our regular season. I think it just adds to it, will be fired up and excited for the challenge. It should be good.”

The most intriguing games will feature UBC, McGill, Calgary, and Western. UBC eliminated McGill during CIS Nationals and Calgary knocked out 2015 CIS National Champions, Western. The Thunderbirds will open up vs McGill on Friday night and then take on the Mustangs on Saturday afternoon. Calgary will have to wait until Sunday morning to fend off any offensive Western front.

UBC forward, Kathleen Cahoon scored a pair of goals and added two helpers during nationals. When the Thunderbirds and Marlets take to the ice, she’s certain there will be some added left over intensity.

“I think it’s going to be a good showcase for both sides,” admitted Cahoon. “I know there’s a little bad blood between us and McGill, but I think it’s going to be great. I think it’s going to really show how our team is clicking right now, how there’s is. It’s just going to be a great battle and I’m excited to see it.”

McGill comes into this showcase without leading goal-scorers Mélodie Daoust and Gabrielle Davidson. Together they lit up opponents with 50 goals and 41 assists last season. Cahoon knows how important they are to McGill, however, she doesn’t plan to take the Martlets lightly without their dynamic duo.

“Even with those two big players not being there, I know that they’re definitely going to come after us in full force. We can’t expect nothing less, we can’t take them easy even though they don’t have those players. Everyone’s going to be one hundred percent in that game.”

McGill Coach, Peter Smith wasn’t about to add to the budding rivalry between UBC and McGill. Nationals was last spring, and now both teams will want to start building for the upcoming season. Smith, who will be entering his 17th season as the Marlets bench boss, is hoping to see how his young team develops.

“We are looking forward to the tournament,” said Smith. “It is the first time we will be playing in B.C. We have a very young team. The chance to play three pre-season games against opponents we do not see very often will be an excellent development opportunity for our group.”

His UBC counterpart will be taking this showcase with the same approach. Younger players will get a chance to earn valuable playing time against top teams. Veterans will be looking to pick up where they left off. Coach Graham Thomas will be looking to his players to shake off any lingering summer cobwebs.

UBC Coach Graham Thomas talks tactics during practice on Wednesday, September 14.

UBC Coach Graham Thomas talks tactics during Thunderbirds practice on September 14.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” said Thomas. “We’re lucky enough to have some really good teams coming out. We’ve got some good re-matches from nationals going on, whether it’s Calgary vs Western, or us (UBC) vs McGill. We know that we’re bringing four teams that were just at nationals back out here to get us ready. Kick off some rust, elevate some players, and figure out our own team. This is for all teams I’m sure, to figure out what we all have, and what we’re all working with this year. We’re really excited about the competition that we’ve got coming out here.”

McGill first year player, Jade Downie is one of the top young players to watch in the showcase. The 20 year-old forward was part of Hockey Canada’s 2016 summer development team. She scored a goal and an assist in a three games series vs the United States. Coach Thomas is already preparing his defenders.

“They’ve got a new incoming player, Landry (Jade Downie-Landry). She was at the team Canada development camp, and she’s a really good player. They’re (McGill) always solid, and always going to be a top team. I’m sure they’re obviously going to be fired up to play us and get us into all that kind of stuff after the whistle.”

The Thunderbirds head into this campaign as a team that others will be looking to test themselves against. It will be tougher to roll train over the competition. Taking on McGill and Western back to back will be a terrific way to see how UBC looks before the season starts on October 7 vs Saskatchewan.

“I think we’ve probably got a bit of a target on our backs,” revealed O’Neill. “I think it will elevate people’s game when they come to play us, just knowing our past success. It really doesn’t change the way that we play. We still have the mentality to focus on the process and control what we can control.”

East vs West Showcase Schedule

Friday, September 16, 2016
3 p.m. — Calgary vs. NAIT
5:30 p.m. — Mt. Royal vs. Western
8 p.m. — UBC vs. McGill

Saturday, September 17, 2016
10:30 a.m. — Mt. Royal vs. NAIT
1 p.m. — McGill vs. Calgary
3:30 p.m. — Western vs. UBC

Sunday, September 18, 2016
8 a.m. — Calgary vs. Western
11 a.m. — NAIT vs. UBC
1 p.m. — McGill vs. Mt. Royal (Father Bauer Arena)

All times Pacific

The UBC Thunderbirds taking in tactics during practice.

The UBC Thunderbirds taking in tactics during practice at Doug Mitchell Thunderbirds Sports Centre.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds will play McGill University in the quarter-final opening round of the CIS National Championship on Thursday, March 17 in Calgary, Alberta at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

This won’t be the first time these teams have matched up this season. On Sunday, September 20 in Kingston, Ontario. UBC scored a trio of unanswered goals via Shiayli Toni, Nicole Saxvik, and Steph Schaupmeyer and skated away with a 3-2 win over then CIS number 1 ranked McGill Martlets Hockey.

Rookie defender Mikayla Ogrodniczuk remembers that game and how big of a win that was for UBC.

“We beat them in our pre-game series. I was in the lineup for that game and for us it was huge,” added Ogrodniczuk. “Knowing that they were ranked number 1 going into that game. It built a lot of confidence for us knowing that we could playing against a team like that.”

Nicole Saxvik had a goal and an assist in that game. She credits that victory as being a huge confidence boost for the Thunderbirds. Taking on McGill this time around will be much more different with a lot at stake and Saxvik is well aware of that.

“You can’t really take much because it was from the very beginning of the year. Every team has changed and adjusted so much. I mean it does give us a little bit of confidence knowing that we can play with all the top teams across the country.”

Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Gold Medallist Mélodie Daoust was unavailable during that earlier match against UBC. The fourth year Martlets forward has been scoring goals for fun this season. The 24 year-old compiled 28 goals and 24 assists in 32 games. UBC defenders will have to double team Daoust and not give her any time and space around goalkeeper Danielle Dube.

While Ogrodniczuk and her defensive partner could very well be tasked with marking Daoust. The Vancouver, B.C. native admits a bit of excitement about the prospects of going up against one of the best CIS players in the country.

“Yeah she plays for Team Canada, I mean she’s not bad at all. It’s pretty cool to play against someone like that.”

This won’t be Nicole Saxvik’s first trip to the CIS National Championship. She was part of the UBC Thunderbirds 2012/2013 team that had an early exit from the tournament. Saxvik isn’t too concerned with McGill’s Daoust. As she explains this won’t be the first time UBC has played a Canadian Olympic Gold Medallist with a lot on the line.

“We’ve played against Hayley Wickenheiser when we played the Calgary Dinos in the past three years,” said Saxvik. “We have a very strong team and everyone is capable of checking her. We’ve just got to stick to our system and play our game and I think we’ll be completely fine.”

UBC Thunderbirds forward Nicole Saxvik.

UBC Thunderbirds forward Nicole Saxvik.

As a fourth year veteran Thunderbird, Saxvik and the core leadership group of UBC have taken time to help first year players like Mikayla Ogrodniczuk prepare for what to expect during the CIS Nationals. It’s a quick tournament with eight terrific teams competing to be crowned CIS National Champions.

“I just think that you really have to take in every moment of nationals,” said Saxvik. “It’s a very quick competition, there’s a new format, It’s basically one game elimination knockout. You have to perform well every single game, there’s no second chances. If you want to make it to the national championship you have to win all three games.”

This type of tournament presents all sorts of challenges for every team. Do you rotate goalkeepers, do you play your top players more, or decide to roll all four lines. Can you play aggressive and still stay out of the box and who other than the 7th seeded Calgary Dinos has home ice advantage.

North Vancouver, native Nicole Saxvik finished the season with 4 goals and 7 assists in 28 games for UBC. She knows about the challenges this tournament offers and how important it is to come out flying and quickly build momentum.

“Your playing against the top teams in Canada. Depending on where you get situated, you could be playing three games in three days, depending on where you get seeded and what not, so that kind of becomes a factor. You’re playing against the top teams and every game is going to be a very hard battle.”

McGill finished Quebec RSEQ regular season play with a 13-5-2 record and were swept by the Montreal Carabins in the RSEQ Championship. McGill lost last years CIS National Championship Final to the Western Mustangs 5-0. They will be motivated to reclaim a CIS National Championship they won in 2014.

Mikayla Ogrodniczuk and her UBC Thunderbirds teammates will be ready come Thursday at 3:00 P.M. local time. The winner of UBC vs McGill will take on the winner of Guelph vs St. Thomas on Saturday afternoon. Ogrodniczuk will focus on the first task at hand and that’s beating McGill.

“Getting the first win is probably the most important part of the tournament. It’ll be huge for us.”

UBC Thunderbirds defender Mikayla Ogrodniczuk.

UBC Thunderbirds defender Mikayla Ogrodniczuk.

You can’t win all three games at once so the best way forward is to take it one game at a time as that famous cliché rings out. Ogrodniczuk and UBC will be working hard all week preparing for CIS Nationals.

“I think just being ready for the first game. The second the puck drops we have to be at our best, especially knowing that it’s one game elimination.”

Here is the CIS National Championship Schedule. Mountain Times listed.

Thursday, March 17.

11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 8 St. Thomas vs. No. 1 Guelph

15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 5 McGill vs. No. 4 UBC

Friday, March 18.

11:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2

15:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 6 Western vs. No. 3 Saint Mary’s

19:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 7 Calgary vs. No. 2 Montreal

Saturday, March 19.

10:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4

14:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2

17:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4

Sunday March 20.

8:45 Bronze

9:00 5th-place game

12:30 Final


1. Guelph Gryphons (OUA champions: 21-2-1 regular season / 5-1 playoffs)

2. Montreal Carabins (RSEQ champions: 15-3-2 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)

3. Saint Mary’s Huskies (AUS champions: 17-6-1 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)

4. UBC Thunderbirds (CWUAA champions: 16-9-3 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)

5. McGill Martlets (RSEQ finalists: 13-5-2 regular season / 2-2 playoffs)

6. Western Mustangs (OUA finalists: 15-8-1 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)

7. Calgary Dinos (Hosts: 12-12-4 regular season / 0-2 playoffs)

8. St. Thomas Tommies (AUS finalists: 16-7-1 regular season / 5-2 playoffs)