CALGARY at SASKATCHEWAN: Prior to the break, we saw the Dinos play well against Manitoba while the ninth-ranked Huskies continued to roll with a pair of wins over Mount Royal. This game would start in the Dinos' favor as Sasha Vafina put the Dinos up early when she cut to the middle and found the five-hole on Jasey Rae Book just 38 seconds into the game! That lead would only stand for three minutes, however, as Kaitlin Willoughby was sprung on a breakaway, and she made no mistake in beating Kelsey Roberts at 3:56. Despite some back-and-firth action, Calgary would escape the period with the lead when Chelsea Court's centering pass made it through the slot untouched and unseen by Book to end up in the far corner of the net at 16:16 and a 2-1 Dinos lead.
A scoreless second period would be followed by an incredible outburst of goals in the third period. Bailee Bourassa tied the game off a feed from Brooklyn Haubrich behind the net at 2:46 to make it 2-2. Leah Bohlken found a loose puck in front of the net on a scramble during a power-play, and her shot dented twine for a Saskatchewan power-play goal and a 3-2 lead at 4:12. The Huskies kept pouring it on as Lauren Zary followed up a Kaitlin Willoughby shot while shorthanded, and she converted the rebound at 6:40 for the 4-2 Huskies lead! Delaney Frey would cut the deficit to one goal when she went high on the glove-side past Book at 16:14, but Kori Herner would ice it for Saskatchewan when she scored with 35 seconds left to give the Huskies the 5-3 victory! Book picked up the win in making 16 saves while Roberts suffered the loss after making 19 saves.
CALGARY at SASKATCHEWAN: Saturday's game was far less colorful on the scoresheet. A scoreless first period between the Dinos and Huskies led to the second period where just one goal was scored. 9:07 into the middle frame, Rachel Johnson picked up a loose puck during a goal-mouth scramble while on the power-play, and she made no mistake as she buried it behind Kelsey Roberts for the 1-0 lead. From there, the two goalies battled one another in matching saves, and neither would give up anything. An empty-net goal by Kori Herner with a second to play gave the Huskies the 2-0 victory! Cassidy Hendricks made 18 stops for the shutout win while Kelsey Roberts stopped 42 of 43 shots in the loss.
ALBERTA at MANITOBA: Manitoba came in as the sixth-ranked team in the nation while Alberta was looking to find some consistency in their game. These two long-time rivals never really need any additional motivation to get up for these games, but only one team showed up for the first 40 minutes. Alex Poznikoff got the visitors on the board first when she redirected an Autumn MacDougall shot past Rachel Dyck at 7:02 to give the Pandas the 1-0 lead. We move to the second period where the Morin sisters got in on the act as Ashley's shot off Deanna's feed found room past Dyck at 16:20 for the 2-0 lead.
To say that Manitoba played 40 minutes of uninspired hockey would be giving them a compliment. They were out-skated, out-chanced, and out-worked by the Pandas, and it looked like the third period would continue that way as Hannah Olenyk took a pass on the right side, blazed down the wing with some incredible speed, beat the defender to the outside, and found room through Dyck for a 3-0 lead at 4:33. But that third goal lit a fire under the Bisons that we haven't seen this season.
Alanna Sharman became a one-woman wrecking crew as she teed up a slapshot that was ripped past Lindsey Post from the slot at 5:04 to make it a 3-1 game. Karissa Kirkup made it 3-2 when she converted a goal off a turnover while on the power-play at 7:04. Venla Hovi jumped into the scoring party as well as she one-timed a blast past Post off a great feed from Lauren Keen behind the net at 9:57, and suddenly the Pandas and Bisons were tied! While chances were seen at both ends through the remainder of the period, both Dyck and Post held their ground to send this game to overtime!
Both overtime periods would solve nothing, so the skills competition would be needed to find a winner. Both Regan Wright and Hannah Olenyk deked on Dyck and scored while all three shooters for Manitoba - Sharman, Kirkup, and Keen - opted to shoot only to see Post turn them aside. Alberta would grab the shootout victory and take this game by a 4-3 score! Post stopped 26 shots in the victory while Dyck made 19 stops on her side of the ice.
ALBERTA at MANITOBA: Did I mention that Alberta can skate? I'm not entirely sure about this, but they might be the fastest team on skates in USports right now. That speed was once again on display on Saturday as the Pandas and Bisons met in the second-half of this series. The only goal of the day was scored at 10:05 of the second period when the speedy Amy Boucher got a step on Eric Rieder, fought off the defender through the offensive zone, and went backhand-forehand to open up Amanda Schubert before sliding the puck through the open five-hole. Needless to say, that was a goal-scorer's goal by the leading scorer for the Pandas!
The rest of the game saw a few chances at both ends of the ice, but the Bisons could never truly neutralize the speed of the Pandas to setup in the offensive zone as they wanted. Because of this, Lindsey Post never really had a lot to worry about when it came to Manitoba chances. The one thing that should concern Bisons fans is the loss of Alanna Sharman. Sharman went to the bench last in the first period with what appeared to be an upper thigh injury, and she did not return. Her loss was noticeable as the Pandas took five of six points on the weekend with a 1-0 victory on Saturday. Post stopped all 23 shots she saw for the shutout win while Schubert stopped 19 of 20 shots in the loss.
LETHBRIDGE at MOUNT ROYAL: This game saw Mount Royal mount all sorts of offensive pressure on the Pronghorns. If there's one thing that the Pronghorns do well, it's allow more than 40 shots per game. They did it again on Friday, and it cost them. Mount Royal made the most penalized team in the CWUAA pay for a penalty as Reanna Arnold used the screen in front of Jessica Lohues to zip a wrist shot past the netminder for the power-play goal at 13:58 and the 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second period in which the Cougars were relentless in outshooting Lethbridge 17-9, the third period saw both teams trade chances throughout the stanza. Mount Royal would double their lead at the 9:14 mark when Tianna Ko slid a loose puck under Lohues in a goal-mouth scramble. The Pronghorns would fight back with chances of their own and, with Lohues on the bench, Jodi Gentile's slapshot off a face-off win back to the point eluded Emma Pincott to make it 2-1 with 53 seconds to play! Despite some furious pressure at the end, the Cougars withstood the barrage and took this game by a 2-1 score! Pincott stiopped 29 of 30 shots in the win while Lohues made 42 stops in the loss.
MOUNT ROYAL at LETHBRIDGE: The second game in this home-and-home series went on Saturday in Lethbridge. Quite literally, this game was decided in one period. The Pronghorns got the home crowd to their feet when Jodi Gentile ripped a shot off a bank pass from Maddison Toppe that beat Emma Pincott at 14:07 for Lethbridge's first lead of the weekend. And then things went south in the second period.
The Cougars got goals from Tianna Ko at 5:23, Nicollette Seper at 6:37, Megan Carver at 16:25, and Sarah Weninger at 18:56 to stake Mount Royal to a 4-1 lead. All of the goals were the results of hard work. To scored on a two-on-one while Seper went to the net and cashed in a rebound. Carver simply outworked a defender to beat her and Alicia Anderson, and Weninger beat Anderson on a wrap-around after winning a puck battle behind the net. Anderson's night would be over after the second intermission as she was replaced by Jessica Lohues in the Lethbridge crease.
Aislinn Kooistra's shot just 58 seconds into the third period that beat Pincott looked like it might be the rallying point for the Pronghorns, but the hoem squad couldn't muster anything more as Emma Pincott shut the door. When the final horn sounded, the Cougars had won their second-straight game by a 4-2 margin. Pincott made 32 saves in the win while Alicia Anderson was changed with the loss after stopping 17 of 21 shots in 40 minutes. Lohues was a perfect six-for-six in relief.
REGINA at UBC: So how is the top-ranked team in the nation doing? Can the Regina Cougars end the eight-game winning streak the Thunderbirds are on? In one word, no. The two teams traded chances in a scoreless first period, but it would be penalties that cost the Cougars in the second period. Haneet Parhar was the recipient of some nice passing by the Thunderbirds during a five-on-three advantage, and Parhar's shot beat Jane Kish on the glove side at 13:46 for the 1-0 lead. With yet another Cougar in the penalty box, Alexa Ranahan found Nicole Saxvik open, and Saxvik beat Kish for the 2-0 lead.
Celine Tardif made it a 3-0 game with her first of the season off a nice shot at 6:57 of the third period before Kylie Gavelin poked home a loose puck on the power-play with a pile of players in front of Amelia Boughn at 9:29 to make it 3-1. Kathleen Cahoon scored into an empty net with six seconds to play, but there was no doubt that the Thunderbirds controlled this game once they scored the first goal. Boughn made 25 saves for the win while Kish stopped 19 shots in the loss.
REGINA at UBC: I don't know what it is about the officiating in British Columbia, but there were nine infractions called on Regina including seven-straight minor penalties. Manitoba had the same issue as Regina when they played in BC, and it carried over to Saturday's game where Regina was whistled for 11 more minor penalties!
UBC opened the scoring 15:50 into the game when Hannet Parhar deflected a Kathleen Cahoon shot past Jane Kish for the 1-0 lead. That lead lasted all of 3:43 when Jaycee Mahwood made her presence felt while shorthanded. Magwood skated the puck into the Thunderbirds zone and spotted a streaking Kylie Kupper. Magwood's pass was blocked, but she corralled the puck and zipped a wrist shot past Amelia Boughn for the Cougars' first shorthanded goal of the year and the 1-1 equalizer!
The second period would go scoreless despite both teams' best efforts, before power-plays took over in the third period. At the 3:52 mark, Nicole Saxvik tipped a Mairead Bast shot with the man-advantage that found its way behind Kish for the 2-1 lead. Kathleen Cahoon jumped into the scoring when her shot on the power-play beat Kish at 17:21 for the 3-1 lead. Regina wouldn't go quietly, though, as they used a late power-play to get a six-on-four advantage. Melissa Zerr deflected a puck past Boughn with 16 seconds to play, but it wouldn't be enough as the Thunderbirds hung on to win this game 3-2. Boughn stopped 17 shots in the win while Kish dropped a second-straight game despite making 31 saves.
|British Columbia|| |
|Mount Royal|| |
I expect there to be some movement in the USports Top-Ten as Manitoba suffered two losses and were really exposed by Alberta when it comes to foot-speed. I also expect Saskatchewan to bounce up the standings from ninth to possibly seventh or even sixth in the nation. UBC will remain on the top of the list as they handled Regina quite easily.
Calgary has yet to win in regulation, and it appears that their season might be sinking quickly if they can't string together a few wins before Christmas. With only four games and two weeks left before the Christmas break in Canada West action, every single team in the conference will be looking for points to set up the second-half of the season!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!