Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Rundown - Week 4

Starting today, The Rundown will focus only on the Canada West Conference of the CIS. I'll be honest in saying that being busy is forcing my hand in this one, but I simply don't have enough time to watch highlights, videos, and live games all weekend from the other CIS conferences. That's not to say that I won't talk about them when necessary, but recapping some 35 games each week has proven taxing both on me and my busy schedule.

Instead, I'll focus on the eight games each week that matter most to me. If someone out there wants to contribute recaps for the OUA, RSEQ, or AUS, I'll gladly accept them. Without further adieu, however, let's get to the action!

LETHBRIDGE at CALGARY: After a scoreless first period, these two teams got into the scoring action. Lethbridge's Mackenzie Gal showed off her hands as she went shelf over Kelsey Roberts from in tight, and the Pronghorns had a 1-0 at 8:54 of the middle frame. 1:37 later, Heather Berzins redirected a nice pass from Cheyann Newman past Alicia Anderson while on the power-play, and the Dinos evened the score at 1-1. The Dinos would take the lead at 16:11 when Chelsea Court went short-side on Anderson after a nice passing play with Sasha Vafina, but Lethbridge would find their own equalizer 51 seconds later while on the power-play as Jenae Culp snapped a shot that Roberts couldn't stop. After 40 minutes, the Pronghorns and Dinos were tied at 2-2.

It appeared that this game would go to Lethbridge when the Pronghorns got a goal at 17:35 when Brett Campbell ripped a shot past Roberts while on the power-play. However, Calgary's Sasha Vafina wouldn't let the Pronghorns escape just yet as she broke in on Anderson and went bar-down just 33 seconds after Lethbridge had taken the lead. With the two teams tied at 3-3, we'd need extra time!

The 4-on-4 overtime solved nothing, and the 3-on-3 overtime still saw the game knotted up. We'd move to the skills competition where both Lethbridge and Calgary couldn't solve the netminders through four rounds. Sarah Spence, sent out for a second shot in the fifth round, managed to snipe a goal on Kelsey Roberts. Chelsea Court wasn't able to score on Anderson, and the Lethbridge Pronghorns earned a 4-3 shootout victory over the Calgary Dinos. Alicia Anderson made 40 saves in the victory while Kelsey Roberts stopped 38 shots in the loss.

CALGARY at LETHBRIDGE: The second-half of the home-and-home between these two Alberta teams saw the Pronghorns grab a lead at the 9:59 mark after some very cautious play to open the game. Katelyn Breitkreuz was in the right place to collect a rebound and her shot caught a piece of Hayley Dowling, but the puck still found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Penalties would highlight the second period's action, but there would be a goal at 9:27. Mackenzie Gal scored her second goal of the weekend as she skated into the face-off circle from the half wall and wired a shot past Dowling for a 2-0 Pronghorns lead. Despite the penalties, neither team's power-play could capitalize, so we'd head to the third period with Lethbridge ahead by a pair of goals.

Calgary started the third period on the power-play, but would score four seconds after the penalty expired. Paige Michalenko's shot for the point made it through the traffic in front of Alicia Anderson and under the netminder at the 1:00 mark to make it a 2-1 game. Despite a number of chances and a furious scramble at the end of the game with Dowling on the bench, Calgary couldn't get anything else past Anderson as she held the 2-1 score for the Pronghorns through to the final buzzer. Anderson was good on 30 of 31 shot she faced while Dowling made 25 of 27 stops in the loss.

#10 ALBERTA at MOUNT ROYAL: The other all-Alberta match-up this weekend featured the Cougars and Pandas, and it would be Mount Royal who jumped out to a lead. Just 3:19 in, Sarah Weninger ripped a shot past Lindsey Post on an early power-play to make it 1-0 for the Cougars. However, the Pandas came right back as Amy Boucher converted a Kennedy Ganser pass past Emma Pincott at 5:59, and we were knotted up at 1-1.

We jump to the second period where Ganser was the recipient of a Boucher pass, and she fired a shot past Pincott to put the Pandas up 2-1 at the 5:14 mark. The Pandas would continue some good pressure, and Hannah Olenyk would take advantage as she sniped a goal at 8:40 to give the Pandas a two-goal lead. Post continued her solid play between the pipes, and Alberta took the 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

Normally, this would be a quiet third period as the Pandas would shut it down, but the Cougars refused to go quietly. Channia Alexander found some room past Post at 10:12 to make it a 3-2 game, and Cougars seemed to come to life. With pressure in the offensive zone, the Cougars drew a penalty as Ashley Morin was whistled for body-checking. On the ensuing power-play, Shawni Rodeback fired a point shot that got past the screen and Post at 16:28 to make it a 3-3 game! And with that goal, this game would need extra time to determine a winner!

Overtime would solve nothing between these two teams, so they would move to the skills competition. Nothing would happen in the first three rounds, but Mount Royal would notch the first goal as Rachel Piitz faked a deke and fired home a shot on Post. Kennedy Ganser, who was having an outstanding game, needed to score, and she would beat Pincott with a move to even the shootout. Another two rounds would go by without goals before Reanna Arnold was stopped by Post. Guess who, on her second shot of the shootout, would end this game? Ganser didn't even fake the deke as she sniped a shot past Pincott to give Alberta the 4-3 shootout win! Post made 20 saves in the win while Pincott stopped 27 shots in the loss.

MOUNT ROYAL at #10 ALBERTA: It was off to Edmonton for the second-half of the home-and-home weekend. I'm not sure if it was the game the previous night or the travel, but neither team seemed to have much jump in their legs. No goals were scored in the first or second periods despite Alberta leading 14-6 in shots.

The third period offered more opportunities as both teams perhaps sensed that a single goal might be the difference, and it indeed would be. With 2:06 to play, Gabrielle Seper's wrist shot was deflected by a Pandas defender, and the ricochet found its way past Dayna Owen in the Pandas' net for the 1-0 Mount Royal lead. Zoe DeBeauville wouldn't allow anything past her despite some fierce pressure from the Pandas, but the Cougars would hold on for the 1-0 victory! DeBeauville stopped all 26 shots for the shutout win while Dayna Owen took the loss while making just 13 saves.

This was a fairly historic win for the Mount Royal Cougars. It's the first time in 22 meetings that they have defeated the Pandas, and the first time in 16 meetings in Canada West play that they recorded a win versus the Pandas. And, according to their publication on this game, Seper's third-period tally was the first goal scored by a Cougar at Clare Drake Arena since January 5th, 2013 - a span of almost 14 consecutive games. Wowzers!

REGINA at #9 SASKATCHEWAN: The battle of Saskatchewan kicked off in Saskatoon on Friday night. However, it was the Regina squad who came out guns a-blazing. Kyle Kupper scored a power-play goal 3:10 into the game, and Jaycee Magwood added a second Cougars goal 2:20 later to put Regina up 2-0. Saskatchewan woke up after the early deficit was established and began playing some good shutdown hockey, but Jane Kish was equal to the task as she turned away all attempts.

When all was said and done after 60 minutes, the 2-0 lead was still intact and the Regina Cougars recorded the win. Kish stopped 28 shots for the shutout win while Cassidy Hendricks took the loss in allowing two goals on 20 shots.

#9 SASKATCHEWAN at REGINA: The third series to feature a home-and-home moved to Regina on Saturday. Both teams played a cautious first period with no scoring, but the deadlock would be broken in the middle frame. Regina's Kylie Gavelin sacrificed her body to block one shot and used her stick to deflect another, but the bounce would land on the stick of Saskatchewan's Courtney Cormack who beat Morgan Baker to open the scoring at 14:18.

Regina would find the equalizer 1:58 into the third period. Melissa Zerr took a long outlet pass from Krista Metz and used her speed to split the Huskies defence before going high on the short side on Cassidy Hendricks to make it 1-1. With Saskatchewan's Lauren Zary in the sin bin, Jaycee Magwood made it a 2-1 game on the power-play when she took a pass from Gavelin, stepped into the slot, and put a backhanded shot over Hendricks' glove at 14:39. Magwood would add a second goal into an empty net at 19:10, and the Regina Cougars skated to the 3-1 victory. Morgan Baker made 16 saves for the win while Hendricks took her second-straight loss while making 35 saves.

#7 MANITOBA at #1 UBC: In a battle of the Canada West powerhouses, the two CWUAA finalists from last season would meet in Vancouver. Mathea Fischer put the top-ranked CIS club out in front when she deflected a shot past Rachel Dyck at 14:32, but Manitoba would let that lead stand for all of 22 seconds. Sheridan Oswald was credited with the goal as the bouncing puck handcuffed Amelia Boughn, and we were knotted up at 1-1.

It was once again a deflection in the second period that put the Thunderbirds ahead. At 12:28 and with the man-advantage, UBC's Stephanie Schaupmeyer deflected a shot from Cassandra Vilgrain that eluded Dyck, and UBC had the 2-1 lead. But 1:24 later, Manitoba squared the game. Charity Price cleaned up a rebound of an Alexandra Anderson shot that Boughn couldn't corral, and it was a 2-2 game.

The third period was a tight-checking affair, but UBC began to put more pressure on the Bisons as they rolled lines with the last change. With 2:04 to play, Hannah Clayton-Carroll's wrist shot past a partially-screened Dyck would be the winner as she put UBC up 3-2. With Dyck on the bench, Manitoba pressured for the tying goal, but Boughn shut the door for the win. Boughn would make 16 saves in the victory while Dyck turned aside 25 shots in the loss.

#7 MANITOBA at #1 UBC: The rematch went Saturday afternoon, and it was a completely different game. Manitoba was called for 11 minor penalties in this game, and UBC converted three power-play opportunities. Stephanie Schaupmeyer opened the scoring at 1:50 of the first period as the only goal of the opening frame. However, in the second period, Kathleen Cahoon added a goal at 6:21 and Hannah Clayton-Carroll scored at 8:28 which would end Rachel Dyck's afternoon.

Amanda Schubert relieved Dyck, and she fared no better. Alexa Ranahan scored a power-play goal at 11:19 to put UBC up 4-0 as the top-ranked team in the nation flexed their muscles. Erin Kucheravy would beat Tori Micklash at 15:48, but you could see the wind had already been taken out of Manitoba's sails by the end of the second period.

Haneet Parhar would add a second power-play goal for UBC at 1:26 of the third period. Manitoba's Cassandra Taylor would cut the deficit with her goal at 6:24, but UBC would add their third power-play goal of the afternoon when Mairead Bast beat Schubert for the 6-2 lead. That would be all that Micklash needed as the UBC Thunderbirds down the Manitoba Bisons in two-straight games by that 6-2 count. Micklash stopped 16 shots for the win while Rachel Dyck took her second loss in allowing three goals on 18 shots. Schubert made 11 saves on 14 shots in her relief appearance.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
British Columbia
20 28 14
18 28 13
vs CAL
14 19 20
13 16 16
vs MRU
10 17 15
vs REG
9 14 23
vs UBC
Mount Royal
8 11 19
4 13 26

It should be noted that next week is the final week of games before the CWUAA break for Remembrance Day. The women will take the week off in memory of those who bravely sacrificed their lives for us. With no games scheduled, the standings will be a birds-eye view into how this conference may shake out by the end of the season.

There's no doubt that the UBC Thunderbirds are playing some inspired hockey right now as the top women's team in the CIS/USports standings. Manitoba should remain in the top-ten despite the pair of losses, but I'd be shocked if Alberta and Saskatchewan remain in the top-ten. Saskatchewan was out-played by Regina entirely while Alberta showed their youth in earning just two points against the Mount Royal Cougars. We'll see how everything shakes out this week!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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