Columbia athletics

Huskies visit birds for heavyweight battle


VANCOUVER – In another battle between two of the nation’s top teams, the UBC Thunderbirds are set to host defending Canada West champions the Saskatchewan Huskies for the final home series of 2021 this Friday and Saturday November 26.e and 27e at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Center.

This is the first matchup between the fourth-seeded T-Birds (6-1-1) and the second-seeded Huskies (7-1) since the 2020 Conference Championship Series where Saskatchewan eliminated UBC in two games.

Much has changed since then, including the fact that at mid-season the Birds and Huskies both find themselves near the top of the Canada West standings, albeit backed by two very different teams.

What hasn’t changed for UBC is the challenge of visitors to Saskatchewan.

“They have a great physical and strong team that will finish you off every time you get the puck,” said the UBC head coach. Sven Butenschon. “It’s a bit of a comeback team. They’re playing on the edge. We’ll have to be prepared to make plays quickly, take hits, kick hits. We can’t back down, we have to go from start to finish. with these guys and see what happens. “

With just two points separating the first-place Huskies and the fifth-place Golden Bears heading into the penultimate weekend of the 2021 portion of the season, this weekend’s streak isn’t just a test. solid for where the T-Birds stand, but the rising points up for grabs could have major consequences in the playoffs.

Both teams suffered rare losses last weekend, with the T-Birds losing their first game in regulation by a 4-3 decision in Edmonton to the Golden Bears one night after losing 2-1 to the Alberta in double overtime. The Huskies, meanwhile, saw their winning streak interrupted with a 2-1 loss to the Dinos in Calgary.

Matt Revel v.  Saskatchewan, November 10, 2018

Having started the season with a program record six-game winning streak, the T-Birds not only suffered their first losses of the season in Alberta, but also got a dose of what they can expect again this weekend. -end in terms of the level of competition and the need to reach that level.

“We know how skilled Alberta is, but they showed us another level of work ethic that we haven’t seen from anyone yet this year,” added Butenschon. “When you combine skill and hard work, the result is what you saw in the second half (Saturday), they scored three. We tried to fight but just couldn’t find a goal. plus. Both games were really close, most of the guys took the opportunity and brought in their ‘A’ play, but it still wasn’t enough and we still have a lot of growth to do. “

The T-Birds have dominated the home ice so far in 2021, outscoring their opponents by a total of 14 goals in four games in Vancouver. But it’s been some time now since UBC took a win over the Huskies at Doug Mitchell, having lost their last four home games and their last nine overall, including the Canada-wide semi-final series. West last season.

The puck fell at 7 p.m. PT on Friday as the T-Birds prepare to face the Mike Babcock-coached Huskies for the first time.

Saturday’s rematch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT, an afternoon that will also include a special celebration of the 2021 UBC Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class just before the puck is handed over. .

Tickets are free for both games, but must be reserved in advance and both will also be broadcast live on Canada West TV.