Yeos SO winner hands Bisons first men's hockey loss
by Lee Dorner, UBC Sports Info Assistant
Archive photo courtesy Rich Lam / UBC Athletics: Final shooter Theran Yeo scored the only shootout goal of the night when he beat Manitoba's Steve Christie
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (2-0-1) edged the previously unbeaten Manitoba Bisons (4-0-1) 4-3 in a shootout on Friday night at Thunderbird Arena. Francois Thuot denied all three shooters he faced and Theran Yeo picked up the shootout winner for the ‘Birds.
Three second-period goals gave UBC a 3-1 lead, but after the Bisons came storming back to tie the game at three, Thuot came to the rescue for the T-Birds. The fourth-year netminder made several big saves throughout regulation before coming up with three big stops in the shootout to set up Yeo’s low blocker-side game-winner.
“Frankie is a leader for us and he made some huge saves tonight, especially when we were down 1-0 early,” said UBC head coach Milan Dragicevic. “He battled extremely hard and that’s what we expect from him, and he expects that from himself.”
Thuot saved 28 of 31 shots faced to pick up the win for UBC. His counterpart Steve Christie had a strong night as well with 25 saves, including a couple game-savers in the third period that allowed the Bisons to salvage a single point with the shootout loss.
After Tyler Dittmer opened the scoring with a powerplay marker just over nine minutes into the first, the T-Birds came on strong in the second period with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead. They couldn’t hold on however, as Greg Beller scored in the final minute of the second and Calin Wild equalized for Manitoba early in the third.
“You don’t want to let a 3-1 lead slip away so that is one negative to take away from tonight,” said Dragicevic. “It’s a learning experience and we got two points tonight so we will take it, but we need to be better (on Saturday).”
All three of Manitoba’s goals came on the powerplay, but they also gave up a shorthanded marker. Late in the second, Matthew Schneider stripped a Bisons defender of the puck behind the net, circled out in front of goal and out-waited Christie before firing one home from point-blank range to make it a 3-1 UBC lead.
Max Grassi got UBC on the board early in the second when he tipped Craig Lineker’s point shot in off the post. Justin McCrae put the ‘Birds out in front just over a minute later on a UBC powerplay, as he was able to jam a rebound home after Christie made the initial save off a Tyler Ruel shot.
The two sides will be back at Thunderbird Arena on Saturday night to wrap up the two-game series. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. PDT.