By Lethbridge Herald on February 3, 2020.
Luke Coleman didn’t roll into Nicholas Sheran Arena Saturday afternoon expecting a hat trick performance.
That’s exactly what the first-year forward for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s hockey team got, but unfortunately it didn’t result in a victory as the Horns were edged 5-4 by the UBC Thunderbirds in Canada West play.
The Pronghorns playoff hopes were dashed Friday night when the Thunderbirds downed the Pronghorns 6-1.
In women’s play on the weekend, the Pronghorns playoff hopes were also snubbed following a 2-1 loss to the Thunderbirds Saturday night in Vancouver.
The Horns kept their playoff hopes alive in the weekend-opener Friday night when Kyra Greig scored in double overtime to give Lethbridge a 3-2 win.
In Saturday’s rematch at Nicholas Sheran Arena, the Pronghorns took a 4-3 lead early in the third period on a goal from Kyle Gordon, but a weekend split wasn’t in the cards as the T-birds potted two late goals to earn the win.
That extended the Pronghorns winless streak to 10 games and puts them at 5-18-3-0 heading into the last weekend of the regular season.
The bright spot on Saturday, however, was Coleman’s three-goal performance as the former member of the Calgary Hitmen scored twice in the first — the second goal a shorthanded marker — and added another in the second to put the Pronghorns up 3-1.
“I definitely wasn’t thinking that was going to happen when I woke up this morning, but it’s nice to get,” said Coleman, who now has 12 goals and a team-leading 19 points in 26 games. “It’s something I haven’t had a hat trick since I was in minor hockey.”
After Coleman opened the scoring 4:20 into the game, UBC’s Joe Carvalho pulled the visitors even 1:13 later.
Coleman completed his hat trick bid to give Lethbridge a 3-1 lead with 4:34 left in the second, but power play goals from Carter Popoff late in the second and Matt Revel early in the third tied things up at 3-3.
After Gordon put the Pronghorns back in front midway through the third, Thunderbird Tyler Sandhu tied it up a little over four minutes later. Revel added his second of the afternoon for the game-winner with 4:33 to go.
“UBC is a really good team and I was happy we rebounded and played as well we did,” said Pronghorns head coach Murray Nystrom.
“I thought we competed hard from start to finish. It was a great performance by Luke another great game by him. Unfortunately, it was a just a couple too many turnovers cost us. When that happens good teams take advantage and a good team took advantage of the turnovers.”
The Thunderbirds outshot the Pronghorns 45-22 as Lethbridge goaltender Taz Burman made 40 saves.
“It was definitely tough after knowing the situation we were in after losing that game (Friday) and they needed the points to move into the playoffs,” said Coleman. “I think we all just wanted to get in a game and it worked out for the most part, but it was a couple goals.”
Nystrom was hopeful Coleman’s freshman season will earn him some Canada West recognition.
“I thought he did everything you could ask of him and more,” he said. “I think he’s had a great freshman season and if he’s not on an Canada West all-freshman team, I don’t know what the criteria is. He’s been absolutely outstanding. The thing I like about Luke that I’ve learned over the course of this year is his consistency. There’s very few peaks and valleys in his game and in his daily demeanour and that translates to performance. Where other players have peaks and valleys, he’s steady and you learn to rely on people like that. I think he’s someone that as we move forward he’s only going to get better and have more influence on the performance and outcome of our team.”
On Friday, the Pronghorns struck first on a goal from Taylor Fisher, but the Thunderbirds took a 2-1 lead after the second period and cemented the win with four third-period tallies.
“I thought we played a really first period and in the second period we really pushed back and we were expecting that,” said Nystrom of Friday’s effort. “But I thought we survived to get into the third and then it quickly got away from us. A couple of quick goals and we had to try and open up to get back in it and we’re not a team that is built like that. We need to play very defined and very structured and have our success come from that. The minute we have to abandon that we expose ourselves. Again, a good time like UBC took advantage of it. I don’t think the score was indicative of how we played overall. But that’s happens when we get off script.”
In the women’s game Friday night in Vancouver, Katelyn Breitkreuz got Lethbridge on the board late in the first, but power play goals from Rylind MacKinnon and Hannah Clayton-Carroll gave UBC a 2-1 lead.
It stayed that way until the final minute when Greig scored her first of the night with 59 seconds to go before completing the comeback 3:58 into the second overtime.
Fifth-year Pronghorns goaltender Alicia Anderson made 30 saves in the win.
On Saturday, the Horns once again hit the scoresheet first on a goal from Alli Borrow, but a late first-period power play goal from Clayton-Carroll tied the game.
UBC’s Jaedon Cooke added the game-winner with 5:11 left in the game.
Anderson made 18 saves in the loss.
The Pronghorns close out the regular season this weekend with a home-and-home series with the Calgary Dinos.
The women’s game is Friday night at 7 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran Arena before heading to Calgary Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Horns men start the weekend Friday in Calgary at 7 p.m. The second game goes Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
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