Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Rundown - Week 2

After the U SPORTS national rankings came out this past week with three Canada West teams in the top-ten, you had to know that we were going to see some outstanding hockey in at least one of the four series. The top-ranked Alberta Pandas traveled east to Manitoba to meet the eighth-ranked Bisons in a second, consecutive week where Manitoba faced a top-ten opponent - they played second-ranked UBC last week - while that UBC team went into Calgary to battle a much improved Dinos team. With three top-ten teams in action, there was bound to be some fireworks, so let's get into it on this week's edition of The Rundown!

MOUNT ROYAL at REGINA: In the battle of the teams named Cougars, both teams were looking to improve their standing. Mount Royal headed east to Regina for this weekend's series, and we witnessed a couple of good games between young teams in this series. Regina was looking to keep pace with the top teams while Mount Royal needed points to climb out of the basement, but it didn't start well for the Mount Royal Cougars when Jaycee Magwood opened the scoring for Regina at 13:25 after a good cycle job saw Mackenzie Hutchinson feed Magwood, and her slap shot beat a screen Zoe DeBeauville!
Regina would continue to build on that lead in the second period. Sarah Hornoi scored her first U SPORTS goal when she deflected a partially-blocked shot past DeBeauville at 5:33!
The Regina Cougars made it a three-goal advantage 2:19 later when Bailey Braden zipped a shot past DeBeauville with a Regina Cougar in the crease at 7:52! Goaltender interference? You be the judge here, but the referees determined this was a good goal!
It was at this point that the Calgary-based Cougars from Mount Royal decided to awaken from their slumber. Amy Tatum made good on a wrap-around that Kane Kish simply couldn't get the pad on at 9:09 to make it a 3-1 game. Amy was a big part of the second Mount Royal goal as well as she skated the puck out of her zone and into the Regina zone before dishing to Anna Purschke who beat Kish cleanly at 19:09, and we had ourselves a one-goal game with one period to play!

Despite Mount Royal outshooting Regina in the final two periods by a 26-11 margin, it would be Jaycee Magwood who iced this game at 17:06 when he shot from the high slot somehow found its way through DeBeauville for the 4-2 lead.
Regina would take this one by that 4-2 score to improve to 2-1-0 on the season. Jane Kish made 33 stops for the victory while Zoe DeBeauville stopped 19 shots in the loss.

MOUNT ROYAL at REGINA: I have to say that the Regina Cougars' Twitter account having all the video of goals scored by the home team is exactly what I want to see out of a social media account. That being said, they didn't capture the visitors' goals - for good reason, I imagine - and they missed the first goal on Saturday when Kate Scidmore found a loose puck during a scramble in front of Morgan Baker, and she netted her first U SPORTS goal after it seemed like the puck sat in front of the crease forever at 13:45 to put Mount Royal up 1-0.

We jump to the second period where the action picked up considerably. Jaycee Magwood bulged the twine behind Zoe DeBeauville with a laser of a wrist shot that DeBeauville simply couldn't stop at 1:39 to make it 1-1. However, Mount Royal went back up by a goal just 58 seconds later when Rachel Piitz finished off a play with a backhander that beat Baker at 2:47 for the 2-1 Mount Royal lead. The two teams would trade chances for the next fifteen minutes, but Regina eventually broke through. Kaitlyn Crowe fed Kylee Kupper with a long stretch pass to send the speedy forward in alone on DeBeauville, and she made no mistake going high on the blocker side for the equalizer at 17:43!

It would be Kupper again in the third period who broke the deadlock. After streaking down the left wing and behind the net, she fed Jenna Grube out front whose initial shot was stopped by DeBeauville. However, Elise Endicott was standing in front and the rebound came out to her stick, and she made no mistakes in potting the goal at 9:21 to put Regina up 3-2! Despite a late four-minute double-minor to Endicott, the Mount Royal Cougars could not solve Morgan Baker as she held strong in preserving the 3-2 victory! Baker made 24 stops in the win while DeBeauville stopped 23 shots in the loss. All the highlights of Regina's goals are below!

SASKATCHEWAN at LETHBRIDGE: Lethbridge and Saskatchewan met on Friday with both teams looking up at other teams in the standings, so both were on the hunt for points. It looked like one team was ready for puck-drop as Saskatchewan's Elizabeth Salyn had an easy tap-in past Alicia Anderson off a beautiful pass from Rachel Lundberg just 2:07 into the game for the 1-0 Huskies lead. Saskatchewan relied heavily on its speed to set up plays, and it seemed that Lethbridge looked overwhelmed at times. However, Anderson was outstanding as she stopped 22 of 23 shots sent her way in the first period to keep this a one-goal game through twenty minutes of play.

Whatever was said in the dressing room by head coach Michelle Janus sparked the Pronghorns in a big way as they came out flying in the second period. They'd only need a couple of minutes to even the game up as Jasey Book stopped Jodi Gentile's point shot, but Brett Campbell scopped up the rebound and fired it past Book at 2:52 to make it a 1-1 game! The speed of the Huskies eventually began to wear down the Pronghorns' attack, but Anderson was there to keep the Pronghorns in this one as she made another eleven saves through this period to keep the game knotted up.

The third period was more of the same as Anderson stood on her head to make another 13 saves, but neither team coyuld resolve this game in sixty minutes so it was off to overtime! The four-on-four overtime saw both sides playing a little more tentatively, but we would find a winner at the 4:02 mark! Rookie Alli Borrow took a pass inside the Huskies' zone, made a nice move around a defender and into the slot, and she snapped the puck past Book for her first U SPORTS goal and, more importantly, the game-winning goal as Lethbridge picks up the 2-1 OT win! Anderson was more-than-ridiculous tonight in stopping 44 shots for the victory while Book made 20 stops in the overtime loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at LETHBRIDGE: With both teams earning points on Friday, both teams knew that a clean win would really help on Saturday. Things actually started the same way as they did on Friday as Elizabeth Salyn got the Huskies on the board first. While shorthanded, she picked the pocket of a Pronghorns defender just outside the Huskies' zone, kicked it into overdrive to pull away, and went forehand-backhand to beat Alicia Anderson on the breakaway at 10:11 to put Saskatchewan up 1-0! Anderson was busy once more as Lethbridge was outshot 13-6, but found themselves down by only a goal through the opening frame.

The second period saw no scoring, but the Pronghorns were certainly the more aggressive of the two teams. Lethbridge outshot Saskatchewan 8-5, but were unable to solve freshman Chloe Marshall in the middle frame so it was off to the third period where we saw goals scored. With the pressure still on in the Pronghorns' zone after an expired penalty, Emily Upgang collected the rebound off the back boards from a Leah Bohlken shot and found room past Anderson over her shoulder just 29 seconds in to put Saskatchewan up 2-0. The Pronghorns, though, wouldn't go quietly into the night. Madison Toppe forced a turnover deep in Sasakatchewan's end midway through the period, and she fed Mikaela Reay who beat Marshall on the blocker side at 10:23 to make it a 2-1 game!

The Huskies would counter right back and literally take the wind out of Lethbridge's sails. Just 17 seconds after Reay's goal, Bailee Bourassa stole the puck from a Pronghorn at the Lethbridge blue line, stepped into the zone, and unleashed a rocket from the top of the circle that beat Anderson high on the blocker side to make it a two-goal Huskies lead once more! Late penalties saw the Pronghorns stuck in their own zone and unable to push for an equalizer, and Saskatchewan takes the second game by a score of 3-1. Marshall made 19 stops for the win while Anderson stopped 34 shots in a losing effort.

UBC at CALGARY: The second-ranked team in the nation made the trip across the Rockies to visit the Dinos. On paper, this series looked like it might be a mismatch, but that's why they play the games! And this one saw the scoring start early as Madison Patrick's point shot at 3:13 was redirected in front, and this change of direction eluded Kelsey Roberts in the Calgary net to make it 1-0 UBC! Three minutes later, the Dinos found themselves on a power-play where Morgan Loroff's point shot was deflected up and over Tory Micklash to even the score at 1-1 at the 6:46 mark!

UBC, though, continued to press, forcing Calgary to take two penalties back-to-back for an extended five-on-three power-play. On said power-play, the Thunderbirds put on a display of exceptional passing. Nineteen seconds into the power-play, Brielle Bellerive turned a pass into a snipe as she went short side on Roberts for the power-play goal at 12:18 to give UBC the 2-1 lead!

The second period saw UBC extend its lead when Emily Costales came off the bench to join the rush, and she one-timed a feed from Kenzie Robinson past Roberts at 11:03 to make it 3-1. Tiffany Chiu added a fourth T-Birds goal on a two-on-one at the 6:11 mark when she played give-and-go with Shay-Lee McConnell before firing home a shot on the glove side to make it 4-1. While the score wasn't all that bad, the difference in shots spoke of who dominated this game. Tory Micklash earned the win with a 15-save effort while Kelsey Roberts suffered the loss despite making 39 saves on the night.

UBC at CALGARY: After Friday's game in which UBC controlled the majority of the play, you had to know that Calgary wanted to push back in Saturday's game. The teams played a little end-to-end hockey in the first period with neither team finding an advantage thansk to saves like the following from Kelsey Roberts!

The second period brought more of the same as the scoreless game continued.

The third period appeared to be another scoreless frame, but UBC broke the draw late in the game. Hannah Clayton-Carroll held onto the puck on a two-on-one, and that decision was a wise one as she wristed home a laser to the top-shelf on Roberts that the netminder couldn't snag, and the T-Birds had the 1-0 lead with 2:50 to play! With Roberts on bench, the Dinos had a few good opportunities on Amelia Boughn, but the Thunderbirds' netminder turned away all shots for her first shutout in the 1-0 UBC victory! Boughn stopped all 19 Dinos attempts while Roberts was outstanding in a 38-save loss.

ALBERTA at MANITOBA: The top-ranked Pandas stopped by Wayne Fleming Arena for a weekend set with the eighth-ranked Bisons, and these two rivals brought all the energy needed for a classic heavyweight bout. Would the Bisons finally be able to snap the mastery of the Pandas over the Manitoba squad? They had won all six games last season over the Bisons, so Manitoba wanted to start this season's series off the right way!

Amy Boucher opened the scoring at 6:24 of the first period in a rather unconventional way. After Rachel Dyck misplayed a rebound, Boucher came crashing into the play and flicked a puck up high that hit Bisons forward Lauryn Keen and ricocheted into the net to put the Pandas up 1-0! Alberta then used the power-play to double the lead as Autumn MacDougall found some space in the slot and swept home the pass from Taylor Kezama past Dyck at 15:34 to make it a 2-0 Pandas lead. The Bisons, though, wouldn't go into the intermission without a power-play goal of their own as Lauryn Keen deflected an Amanda Sharman blast past Dayna Owen to make it 2-1 at 17:43.

The Bisons would open the second period on the power-play, and they didn't waste any time. Alanna Sharman and Venla Hovi worked the top of the umbrella nicely before Hovi set up Erica Rieder for the big one-timer from the right face-off dot, and her blast got through Dayna Owen to tie the game at 2-2!

Alberta would take the lead back midway through the period on a shot that I'm sure Rachel Dyck wants back. Ashley Morin got a step on a Bisons defender and got a good, low shot away on Dyck. Dyck got part of it as the shot went between her legs and slowly trickled across the line for the Pandas goal to make it 3-2 at 11:56. In a rather strange moment, Alanna Sharman was whistled late in the period as she stepped out of the box and touched the puck, but the referee ruled she hadn't fully left the box prior to touching the puck. The result was a delay of game penalty, but Manitoba would kill off that odd call and take the 3-2 score to the intermission.

The teams traded chances in the third period, but a scary moment occurred late in the game. Jenai Buchanan was going into the corner and was bumped from behind by Abby Krzyzaniak which caused Buchanan to fall awkwardly into the boards. Buchanan was down on the ice for a minute in some discomfort, but she was able to skate off under her own power. Krzyzaniak, however, was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct, so the Bisons would have the majority of the remaining time to find the equalizer!

It would take a few minutes for the Bisons to find their comfort zone again, but they finally scored on the power-play when Alexandra Anderson walked the line while eight players stood in front of Dayna Owen, and her wrist shot somehow found its way to twine to make it a 3-3 game at 16:06!

It looked like we'd be playing some free hockey on Friday night, but Amy Boucher wanted none of it. She picked up a turnover at the Bisons blue line with a handful of seconds remaining, and she wired a wrist shot high and hard on the blocker side over Rachel Dyck's shoulder with eight seconds remaining to give the Pandas the 4-3 victory! Dayna Owen made 15 saves for the win while Rachel Dyck suffered the loss in an eight-save game.

ALBERTA at MANITOBA: If Friday's game was a preview between these two rivals, I want more and more often. Saturday was a big game for Manitoba as they needed to keep pace with the Pandas in the standings, so anything outside of three points would be a disappointment. The opening period was filled with opportunities, but Dayna Owen and rookie netminder Lauren Taraschuk, playing in her first U SPORTS start, were both up to the challenge. It would be on a power-play where the scoring was opened, and it was Alana Serhan in front causing all sorts of mayhem who had the puck go off her from a Venla Hovi centering pass and end up behind Owen at 15:32 for the Bisons' first lead of the weekend!

The second period started with all sorts of goals. Hannah Olenyk caught Caitlin Fyten in no man's land as she got caught backing up towards Taraschuk, and the shifty Pandas forward used Fyten as a screen to go high on Taraschuk at 1:02 to make it 1-1. Fyten, though, came right back and erased that mistake with a goal of her own when she snuck in from the point and banged home a rebound off a Venla Hovi shot to put the Bisons up 2-1 at 1:38. The Pandas didn't stop skating, though, and Amy Boucher struck again as she made a good rush into the zone while players crashed the crease. Boucher, though, held the puck and circled the net for the wrap-around that she tucked home just before Taraschuk could get her pad to the post, and we were tied 2-2 at the 6:41 mark! The two teams settled down after that and took the deadlocked game into the dressing room as we looked for a winner in the final frame.

The third period saew the Bisons benefit from another power-play despite missing out on a power-play goal. Seconds after the power-play had expired, Alana Serhan teed a puck up from the blue line and ripped home a high shot that Owen couldn't stop to make it 3-2 at the 7:31 mark. With Alberta pressing for the the equalizer late, Manitoba forward Allison Sexton found room behind the Alberta defence, and Megan Neduzak hit her with a good stretch pass that allowed Sextn to break in alone on Owen. Sexton faked going to the backhand and dragged the puck on her forehand to the far post and around Owen's outstretched pad for a gorgeous insurance goal as the Bisons went up 4-2 at the 17:33 mark

That would be all that Lauren Taraschuk needed as she picked up her first U SPORTS win in the Bisons 4-2 victory! Taraschuk stopped 20 shots in the win while Owen made 30 saves in the loss.


Here are the updated standings, and note how close the teams are early on. This is going to be a fun season if these teams hang around together all season.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
British Columbia
9 13 7
9 13 10
vs UBC
7 11 9
vs CGY
7 10 9
vs MAN
6 13 14
4 4 5
4 2 6
Mount Royal
2 6 12
vs LET

Manitoba survived the top-two teams in the nation over the last two weeks, coming away with splits against both UBC and Alberta. UBC and Alberta will meet November 24 and 25, and who knows where they will be ranked at that point. This is why every game and every point is so important as these two teams who medaled at last year's U SPORTS national championship can't take a week off. The hunt is on to see who finishes atop the Canada West mountain! We'll see you next week on The Rundown!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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