Kindree spearheads a comeback as the T-Birds secure a shootout victory in Regina

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Kindree spearheads a comeback as the T-Birds secure a shootout victory in Regina

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In Regina, Saskatchewan, the UBC Thunderbirds found themselves trailing by two goals deep into the third period. However, they mounted a resilient comeback, netting two late goals against the host Cougars and ultimately securing a shootout victory to complete a weekend sweep.

Sam Huo’s goal, scored with just under five minutes remaining in the third period, brought the ‘Birds within a single goal. Liam Kindree then managed to tie the game at 4-4 with the extra attacker on the ice. Kindree continued his heroics by scoring the solitary shootout goal, allowing the T-Birds to extend their season-long winning streak to four games.

UBC head coach Sven Butenschon reflected on the game, saying, “Today I thought we still worked hard, but the pucks weren’t cooperating. We had a lot of chances, but we just couldn’t get the shots away that we needed to. They blocked a lot of shots, and their goalie played outstanding. It was a mental test to stick to the game plan, maintain a positive attitude, and keep the belief alive, especially when comparing Saturday’s contest to Friday night’s 8-1 victory.

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Griffin Asham-Moroz and Paycen Bjorklund wasted no time, scoring goals less than three minutes apart, and the Cougars swiftly established a 2-0 lead before the eight-minute mark of the opening period. This marked a stark contrast from the series opener less than 24 hours earlier.

Despite launching 16 shots on goal in the initial 20 minutes, it wasn’t until the 18:36 mark that UBC managed to find the back of the net. Liam Kindree was credited with his first goal of the season during a two-man advantage. A powerful Sasha Mutala one-timer missed the net, ricocheted off the end boards, and emerged on the opposite side, where Kindree deftly backhanded the puck into the net, banking it off Regina goaltender Curtis Meger.

As the second period began, it seemed like the T-Birds might be gaining some momentum. However, the Cougars struck swiftly once again, with Eric Houk and Randen Schmidt contributing to another quick pair of goals, giving the hosts a commanding 4-1 lead just eight minutes into the period.

A remarkable individual effort on the penalty kill late in the second period, led by UBC captain Chris Douglas, saw him strip the puck from Schmidt, skate in alone, and expertly score past Meger’s blocker to narrow the deficit to two goals.

Credit By gothunderbirds.ca

The Thunderbirds asserted complete control in the final period, displaying a determined effort to claw their way back from the deficit. However, Regina’s goaltender, Curtis Meger, proved to be a formidable obstacle.

UBC’s unrelenting pressure eventually paid off when Sam Huo found the back of the net. This marked his fourth goal of the weekend and his fifth of the season, occurring with less than five minutes left in the game. Liam Kindree’s shot from the left circle managed to squeeze through Meger, who made an initial stop but couldn’t prevent the puck from crossing the goal line. Huo reacted swiftly, easily tapping the puck in to bring the ‘Birds within one.

In a dramatic turn of events, with goaltender Schwebius on the bench to make way for an extra attacker, Kindree leveled the game with just 90 seconds remaining. Kindree’s second goal of the game was a well-placed wrister that found its way through traffic and into the net.

Credit By gothunderbirds.ca

In overtime, the T-Birds asserted their dominance, bombarding Meger with five shots, and the resilient Regina goaltender finished the game with an astounding 53 saves to his name.

Following a successful stop by UBC’s goaltender Schwebius on Regina’s initial shooter, Jackson Doucet, it was Liam Kindree who stepped up to secure victory with the only successful attempt in the shootout. Kindree’s stellar performance included two goals, an assist, and the shootout-winning goal, capping off an exceptional game for the third-year Thunderbird.

Head coach Sven Butenschon praised the entire line of Huo, Mutala, and Kindree, singling out Kindree for his standout performance. Butenschon also commended his netminder for making crucial stops in high-pressure situations, stating, “When the game was on the line, in the shootout, he looked dialed in and focused and didn’t give them much.”

With a flawless 4-0 record, a feat they’ve achieved for the second time in the last three seasons, the T-Birds will return home next Friday and Saturday to host the Manitoba Bisons. The series’s first game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. PT at Father Bauer Arena, and tickets are currently available for purchase online.

Reference:

https://olympics.com/en/news/wst-rome-park-world-championships-2023-hiraki-cocona-top-women-semi-final

https://gothunderbirds.ca/news/2023/10/7/mens-hockey-kindree-leads-comeback-as-t-birds-earn-shootout-win-in-regina.aspx

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