MOUNT ROYAL at LETHBRIDGE: Let's start with the two teams battling for the final playoff spot in Canada West as the Cougars invaded Lethbridge for a date with the Pronghorns. Lethbridge basically had to win both games against Mount Royal to stay in the playoff race, so there were big stakes on the line in this series. The Pronghorns got things started on the right foot - hoof? - when Brett Campbell deflected a Jodi Gentile shot on the power-play that found the back of the net behind Zoe DeBeauville for the 1-0 lead at 8:43. The lead would last for about four minutes, though, as Reanna Arnold was the recipient of a turnover in front of Alicia Anderson, and she chipped the puck past the Lethbridge netminderw while on the power-play to tie the game 1-1 at 13:03. 3:07 after that goal, Megan Carver was in the right spot for a rebound after Anderson stopped an Anna Purschke deflection, and Carver made no mistake in burying the rebound for the 2-1 Cougars lead.
Everything after that goal was denied. Both goaltenders went save for save through the second and third periods to preserve the 2-1 score that saw some monster saves at both ends of the ice. However, after the Pronghorns pulled Anderson to push for the equalizer Tianna Ko would use her speed to find some open ice and deposit the puck into the empty net with 39 seconds to play for the 3-1 Mount Royal victory. DeBeauville stopped 22 shots for the win while Anderson made 28 stops in the loss.
LETHBRIDGE at MOUNT ROYAL: With Lethbridge nine points back of Mount Royal and the series shifting back to Calgary for the back half of the home-and-home, the odds were stacked against the Pronghorns' playoff chances. Would we see the Pronghorns play desperate hockey? Things didn't start well for Lethbridge as the Cougars struck just 2:39 into the game. Sarah Weninger wristed a shot from outside the blue line that handcuffed Jessica Lohues on the blocker side, and the Pronghorns neminder allowed a softie as the puck found the twine for the 1-0 Cougars lead. Goals like that can often take the wind out of the sails of a team, but the Pronghorns only upped the pressure as they would end the period with a 12-7 lead in shots, but trailed on the scoreboard.
You know how in hockey a big save at one end often results in a goal at the other end? Well, Lohues made a great stop on Tianna Ko on a two-on-one only to see her team head down into the Cougars' end and score! Brett Campbell found the loose puck in front of the net on a scramble play, and she slid it past the sprawled Emma Pincott for the 1-1 goal at 15:08! Despite both teams having chances before and after the goal, both Lohues and Pincott held their ground in taking the 1-1 game into the third period.
Mount Royal came out of the gates in third period looking like a team possessed. After clanking the post early on while buzzing the net, the Cougars finally were rewarded. Talia Terry forced a turnover at the Pronghorns' blue line, burst down the right wing, and wired a low shot under Lohues' blocker just inside the post to put Mount Royal up 2-1 at 10:42! The Pronghorns would answer on the power-play as Delaney Duchek found a loose rebound that Pincott couldn't cover, and she dented the twine with 4:38 to play as the teams found themselves in a 2-2 stalemate through end of regulation time.
The first overtime period solved nothing despite it looking otherwise. Somehow, Rachel Piitz's shot off a rebound was determined by the officials to have been kept out by the glove of Lohues despite the celebration by the Cougars, so the teams moved to three-on-three. It was in this fifth period where Reanna Arnold dazzled. At 1:08, Arnold fought off a defender while controlling the puck, went backhand-forehand-backhand on Lohues to deke her out of position, and slid the puck into the undefended net!
Game, set, and match on that beautiful individual effort as Mount Royal takes this game 3-2 in double-overtime! Pincott made 26 saves in the win while Lohues stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.
SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: One of the teams looking to hunt down Manitoba and Alberta in the race for second-place is the Saskatchewan Huskies. Calgary isn't mathematically out of the running for that sixth playoff spot yet, but they've almost been relegated to the role of spoiler. Let's just say that Calgary fell short in that role on Friday. While the two teams skated hard in the early going, Bailee Bourassa opened the scoring for Saskatchewan as she kept on an odd-man rush and wired a wrist shot past Sarah Murray on the blocker side at 16:58.
Hannah Heisler used a late first-period power-play to open the scoring in the second period. Heisler deflected a Lauren Zary shot past Murray for the power-play goal and 2-0 lead just 38 seconds into the middle frame. Despite some chances for the Dinos, the Huskies kept coming. Morgan Willoughby skated a puck into the zone and tucked a wrist shot under the glove of Murray at 13:57 to make it a 3-0 Huskies lead. The shots were basically even in this period, but the scoreboard was clearly in Saskatchewan's favour.
An early icing call in the third period came to bite Calgary in the rear. After icing the puck on the opening face-off, the defensive zone draw was won by Saskatchewan's Lauren Zary who got the puck to Lori Herner. Herner went shelf on the short side past Murray for the 4-0 lead just 15 seconds into the period. Calgary showed some life two minutes later when Heather Berzins' shot was deflected up and over Cassidy Hendricks and into the net at 2:43 to make it 4-1, but Rachel Johnson would put the final nail in the coffin on this night when she gathered up her own rebound and slid it past Murray for the 5-1 lead at 8:39. With only four shots to speak of in the final frame, Calgary ran out of time in the 5-1 Huskies win. Hendricks made 22 saves for the victory while Murray stopped 31 shots in a losing effort.
SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: The thing about teams who have very little to play for towards the end of the season is that they can often be dangerous. Saturday was a prime example of that fact. Both teams came out strong again, but it would be the Dinos who used the man-advantage to strike first. Megan Grenon final threw the gorilla off her back as her low wrist shot found its way through traffic and past Jasey Rae Book for just the fifth power-play goal of the Dinos' season, but Calgary was up 1-0 at 16:15. 27 seconds later, a rush led by Sage Desjardins saw her initial shot stopped, but Sara Craven took care of business as she made it 2-0!
The second period started with the Huskies looking for revenge, but Kelsey Roberts was equal to the task. Calgary wouldn't sit back, though, as they extended their lead once more. Sara Craven took the pass from Sage Desjardins behind the net, and her centering pass banked in off the skate of Book for her second of the night and the 3-0 Dinos lead at 14:53. Book's night would come to an end at 16:42 as Sarah Hodges pulled her netminder to generate a spark. It seemed to work as the Huskies would cut the deficit to two goals a minute later when Lauren Zary hit Kori Herner in stride as she redirected the puck through the wickets of Kelsey Roberts to make it 3-1 at 17:45.
The third period was a different story as the Dinos went into a defensive shell with the Huskies outshooting them by a 10-5 margin. Neither goaltender would allow a puck to get behind them, though, and this game ended with the Dinos on top by a score of 3-1. Roberts stopped 29 of 30 shots sent her way for the win while Jasey Rae Book took the loss as the goalie of record with eight stops on 11 shots. For the record, Hendricks stopped all five shots she faced in her 21:39 of play.
ALBERTA at REGINA: Both teams had a shot at Manitoba's second-place standing depending on the results from the Manitoba-UBC series. Regulation wins became all that more important! Both teams played more defensively in the opening period that saw Regina outshoot Alberta 6-5, but neither team could solve the other's goaltender as both Morgan Baker and Lindsey Post were perfect through twenty minutes.
And then Alberta exploded. Regan Wright beat Morgan Baker at 8:45 to put the Pandas up 1-0. Autumn MacDougall made it 2-0 at 15:13 when she chipped a rebound past Baker off an Alex Poznikoff shot, and Poznikoff got one of her own at 17:48 when she broke in and got a shot off, but corralled her own rebound and found the back of the net for the 3-0 lead. Alberta's speed and dogged determination - traits they are becoming known for - resulted in a 14-6 advantage in shots as they took the three-goal lead into the third period.
Regina's only goal on the night came on the power-play at 12:52. Jaycee Magwood ripped a shot high that Emma Waldenberger gloved down in the slot where she turned and fired high on Lindsey Post, beating the Alberta netminder for the 3-1 marker. The tenacious defence and team speed that Alberta's been showing for the last couple of months paced them to another victory as they took this one by the 3-1 score. Post made 20 stops for the win while Baker stopped 24 shots in the loss.
ALBERTA at REGINA: With a five-point cushion over the Cougars, Alberta's sights were set on catching Manitoba. Regina, meanwhile, needed to make up ground on Alberta after Friday's loss. Let's just say that one of these teams accomplished their goal. Cayle Dillon scored at 18:27 of the first period while Alex Poznikoff added a second goal at 10:44 of the second period, and that would be more than enough offence for Dayna Owen as she pitched the shutout on Saturday as the Alberta Pandas downed the Regina Cougars 2-0. Owen stopped all 25 shots she faced for the clean-sheet victory while Jane Kish stopped 29 shots in the loss.
UBC at MANITOBA: In what was the featured games of the weekend, the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds came into Manitoba after splitting with Alberta the weekend before. Seventh-ranked Manitoba was looking to extend the losing streak for the T-Birds while trying to make up ground on UBC. It should be noted before we break into this recap that UBC played without Cassandra Vilgrain and Kathleen Cahoon - two big pieces of their offensive game!
Both teams had chances early on, but it would be a turnover at the Manitoba blue line that saw the first goal scored. Alanna Sharman poke-checked the UBC defender but also clipped her skates as she did, causing the defender to fall. Lauren Keen picked up the loose puck and fed Sharman who had already broke down the ice, and the Manitoba sniper made no mistake as she went high glove-side on Tori Micklash to put Manitoba out in front 1-0.
The second period saw UBC establish their dominance as they outshot the Bisons 10-0 in the period, but Rachel Dyck was equal to the task. She made a number of incredible saves to keep UBC off the board as there were at least three chances where goals might have been scored had Dyck not been on her game.
Manitoba`s fortunes in the third period changed as four straight penalties were called on the Thunderbirds. It would be the fourth penalty - a hooking call on Mathea Fischer - where Manitoba finally capitalized. Venla Hovi made a nice move to get in close, and she fed the puck to an open Alanna Sharman as Tori Micklash slid across the net. Sharman recognized this, and fed Hovi on the backdoor for the easy tap-in at 18:59 to put the Bisons up 2-0. UBC pulled the goalie as Manitoba was assessed a late penalty, but they could not solve Rachel Dyck on Friday night as the Bisons claimed the 2-0 victory. Dyck made 25 saves for the shutout win while Micklash stopped 20 shots for her first loss of the season.
UBC at MANITOBA: After an emotional win the night before, Manitoba had to expect UBC to come roaring back on Saturday, and they did just that. Haneet Parhar scored on Rachel Dyck in close just 1:51 into the game, and she added a second on a deflection 4:02 later to put UBC out in front 2-0 before six minutes had elasped. And they weren`t done there. Ten minutes later, Parhar fed Emily O`Neill who was wide-open in the slot and she one-timed the feed through Dyck`s five-hole for a 3-0 lead at 15:28. After a Manitoba time-out, the home squad seemed to get their heads back in the game. Venla Hovi cut down the right wing, cut into the slot, and fired a low shot that found room between Amelia Boughn`s pads at 19:45 to salvage something from the first period in which they were outshot 13-4.
Whatever coach Jon Rempel said in the intermission seemed to have an effect on the Bisons as they played a much more complete second period. After an offensive zone face-off win midway through the period, the puck came back to Caitlin Fyten who fed Erica Rieder for the slap shot. Alana Serhan was positioned perfectly in front of Boughn as she deflected Rieder's shot past Boughn's glove to make it 3-2 at 9:39. While Manitoba still trailed, the middle frame looked a lot more like Friday night as they outshot UBC 8-4.
The third period started the same way as the second period ended, but it was a turnover at the Manitoba blue line that set up the next goal. Mikayla Ogrodniczuk fed Nicole Saxvik after poking the puck away from a Manitoba breakout, and Saxvik fired a laser from the top of the face-off circle high glove-side on Dyck that the netminder couldn't snag for the 4-2 lead at 6:12. Manitoba would continue to press, and it would pay off just past the midway point of the period. Courtlyn Oswald fed Alex Anderson who skated in from the point, and Anderson went forehand-backhand before roofing the puck past Boughn at 12:32 to pull Manitoba within one at 4-3. Despite some incredible pressure late in the game, UBC withstood the barrage to emerge victorious with the 4-3 win. Boughn made 24 stops to record the win while Dyck stopped 18 shots in the loss.
|British Columbia|| |
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Keep your eyes on your social media accounts this week as more than 20,000 student-athletes will help lead the campus conversation about mental health, joining with fellow students and others in the university community to discuss the impact of mental illness and how to fight the stigma that keeps too many from seeking help. Student-athletes are also hosting events at 100 university games leading up to January 25.
On January 25, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions at no extra charge to participants:
- Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada customers.
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- Every view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk.
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Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!