Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Rundown: Week 1

Welcome to HBIC's new weekly segment found on Sundays called The Rundown. Each week, I'll be going inside the CIS women's hockey scene with a particular focus on the Canada West Conference as I look to highlight the week's news and results from across this great country. As you may be aware, HBIC is really pushing the Canadian collegiate women's hockey scene this year thanks to a tie-in with the great blog known as Women's Hockey Nation, so this weekly recap of all the week's stories will come in handy the next time you venture down to your local CIS school and take in some hockey. Without further adieu, let's get to the action!

Alberta at Manitoba - Game One

The rematch from last year's Canada West Final proved to be the same sort of series as we experienced last year. The Bisons and Pandas split the season series 2-2 with both teams taking a game on the road, and the two teams played the opening game of the season in the same sort of tight-checking fashion. The teams were scoreless into the third period when Alberta broke the deadlock when Natasha Steblin scored the Pandas' opening goal this season while somehow being in the middle of a pile of players in Rachel Dyck's crease. The referees saw no foul, however, despite Dyck being on the bottom of said pile, and the Pandas grabbed the 1-0 lead at 4:36.

The Bisons needed a spark and they found one from the reigning Canada West scoring champion in Alanna Sharman. Playing 4-on-4, Sharman took a pass from Karissa Kirkup, dipsy-doodled around Lindsey Cunningham at the Pandas' blue line to find herself in alone on Lindsey Post. Sharman deked to the forehand before pulling the puck to the backhand that caused Post to drop, and Sharman found enough room on the stick side to slip the backhand into the back of the net to draw the game even at 1-1 at the 6:46 mark. Honestly, Sharman's goal was of the highlight-reel variety, and the Bisons seemed fired up after her goal.

After killing off a Lauryn Keen double-minor for spearing, the Bisons went back to the attack and it was Keen who made up for her stick infraction in a big way. Charity Price fired a quick shot on net from the half-boards that Post kicked out, but she left the rebound sitting in front of her where Keen jumped on the loose puck and flipped it over Post's right pad and under her arm before she could close the gap. Keen's first of the season with 2:53 to play put the Pandas on the offensive, but they were unable to find any room past Dyck in the final three minutes as the Bisons went into trap mode.

FINAL SCORE: Manitoba takes the opener 2-1.

Alberta at Manitoba - Game Two

The reigning champs knew they needed to play better, and Sunday's game was a fine example of how to rebound after a tough loss. Alberta jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 4:46 into the first period on the power-play when Tess Houston got the visitors on the board, making the Bisons pay for a Nicole McGlenen tripping penalty. Janelle Froehler doubled the lead at 13:55 of the first period when she tipped a shot past Rachel Dyck to put the Pandas up 2-0 going into the first intermission.

The second period went scoreless, but the Pandas returned for more in the third period. Rookie Erin Baddock found some room behind Dyck for the 3-0 lead just 3:31 into the final frame, and Alison Campbell made it 4-0 for the Pandas with 1:05 to play. The Bisons played a rather undisciplined game all afternoon as they routinely visited the penalty box, making it easy for the Pandas to break any pressure applied by the Bisons. Dayna Owen earned the 16-save shutout.

FINAL SCORE: Alberta splits the series with a 4-0 victory.

Calgary at Regina - Game One

The Dinos, who host the CIS Women's Hockey Championship this season, opened the season on the road as they start their journey towards being the Canada West representative in the CIS Championship. Standing in their way this weekend were the Regina Cougars, but it didn't take long for the Dinos to kick this season off in the right way. Chelsea Court, playing on the Dinos' top line with Gavrilova and Vafina, found the back of the net on a rebound just 58 seconds into the game to put the Dinos up 1-0. Credit netminder Toni Ross for the initial two saves, but that third one was the one that got away. That score would hold through to the intermission despite the Cougars having a power-play and a 19-7 advantage in shots, so the home crowd had little to cheer about in the opening frame.

They would get a chance to show their appreciation in the second period, though, as Emma Waldenberger picked up a loose puck behind the net while Jaycee Magwood occupied two Dinos defenders in front of the net. Waldenberger showed a goal scorer's patience as she wheeled out front behind the Magwood-Dinos scrum, and roofed a shot past Hayley Dowling who never saw it coming. Waldenberger's goal tied the game at 5:01 knotted the game at 1-1, and the two teams would carry that score into the second intermission despite Regina carrying a 24-13 advantage in shots.

Calgary's Heather Berzins restored the one-goal advantage just 1:26 into the final frame as her deflection found some room under Ross for the 2-1 lead. Regina would answer back quickly as they made it 2-2 on Magwood's power-play wrap-around rebound goal just 1:02 after Berzins' goal. 1:26 after that, Regina grabbed their first lead of the season when Emma Waldenberger converted a Magwood pass high on Dowling's blocker side, putting the Cougars up 3-2. The game went back and forth, but Calgary wasn't done. At the 13:33 mark, Sasha Vafina took a long pass to get in behind the Cougars' defence, and she made no mistake with the low stick-side shot to even the game up at 3-3. When the horn sounded, the two teams remained knotted up so it was time for some free hockey!

The fans in attendance actually got a lot of free hockey. The first overtime period saw no goals, so the two teams went to a second overtime period, and we would find our winner here. At the 3:00 mark, Chelsea Perepeluk finished off some nice three-way passing on a 3-on-1 to seal the deal for the Cougars on their first win of the season.

FINAL SCORE: Regina earns the 4-3 double-OT victory.

Calgary at Regina - Game Two

To call this one ugly might be an understatement. We have a clear scoring leader after Saturday's Calgary-Regina match, so let's get through this with as little blood and tears as possible. Emma Waldenberger scored a shorthanded goal at 12:07 to open the scoring, and then notched her second of the game just 35 seconds later to put Regina up 2-0. With 2:35 to go in the first period, it became a three-goal advantage for the Cougars as Caitlin Dempsey scored her first of the season, and the rout was on.

Brooklyn Moskowy added the fourth Cougars goal just 2:02 into the middle frame, and Waldenberger completed the hat trick with a power-play goal just 52 seconds later for a 5-0 lead. At 8:48, Alexis Larson added another goal for a 6-0 lead, and this game was all about minimizing damage for the Dinos at that point. They would escape the second period at that same 6-0 score, but things were not looking good for the Dinos in terms of splitting the two-game series.

Meghan Sherven would tap in a gimme on the power-play at 1:43 to start the period, and it was all about preserving the shutout for Ross from there. Dowling, who had played the first period and given up three goals for Calgary, was replaced at the start of the second period by Carissa Fischer, but she only lasted 8:48 as she gave up the same number of goals in that time. Dowling went back in for the remaining 31:12 of the game, and surrendered only one additional goal. However, it wasn't a great day for Calgary goalies.

FINAL SCORE: Regina trounced Calgary 7-0.

Mount Royal at Saskatchewan - Game One

Mount Royal and Saskatchewan played in the preseason with Mount Royal winning 2-1. Would the regular season see the same results with Mount Royal prevailing? Well, it kind of looked that way when Maggie Shykula-Ross converted a Jocelyn Froehlich pass off the boards in the slot that beat Cassidy Hendricks just 5:51 into the game. Saskatchewan would pull even at the 11:19 mark when Morgan Willoughby' slap shot from the top of the circle on the power-play hit a stick in front and found its way past Jess Ross to knot the game up at 1-1. The two teams would skate into the intermission at that 1-1 score.

The second period went scoreless, but Mount Royal did kill off a Channia Alexander double-minor for a hit to the head. The resulting momentum, though, went nowhere, so it was off to the third period. Mount Royal's Mairi Sorensen was whistled for interference at 14:45, and the Huskies would make the Cougars pay. Brooklyn Haubrich would break the deadlock just 11 seconds into the man-advantage when Lauren Zary got the puck to Kori Herner who found Brooklyn Haubrich, and Haubrich wired home her first CIS goal past Jess Ross for the 2-1 advantage with just 5:04 to play. Saskatchewan would weather a late storm from Mount Royal, but come away victorious!

FINAL SCORE: Saskatchewan downed Mount Royal 2-1.

Mount Royal at Saskatchewan - Game Two

Game Two started in the early evening, and it was another tightly-contested affair between these two squads. Rachel Johnson opened the scoring for the Huskies at 13:58 of the first period while on the power-play. Kaitlin Willoughby used her speed to make a defenceman miss causing an odd-man situation, and she threaded a pass over to Johnson who popped the puck in the yawning cage behind Emma Pincott. If you're keeping track at home, all of Saskatchewan's goals have come via the power-play thus far. Maybe don't take penalties against them?

Marley Ervine would double the lead 14:53 into the second period when Hanna McGillivray found her with some room. Ervine made no mistake as she went high glove-side on Pincott for her first of the season, and the Huskies had a 2-0 lead. From there, Jerrica Waltz did the rest as she closed the door on every Mount Royal attack. She did get a little help at the end of the second period when Mount Royal's Reanna Arnold clanged one off the crossbar, but that would be as close as the Cougars got on this night. Waltz records her first career CIS shutout in the victory.

FINAL SCORE: Saskatchewan skates to the 2-0 win.

Lethbridge at BC - Game One

There was some anticipation from me regarding this game after seeing that some of the recruits that Lethbridge has made over the summer had returned to the Pronghorns for this season. UBC, as you may be aware, lost in the Canada West Semi-Final last season, so the challenge that lay before the Pronghorns was large. Apparently, though, the Pronghorns grabbed the bull by the horns - or T-Bird by the wings? - in this game as they built a big lead to start this game!

UBC found themselves in a little penalty trouble early in this game as they committed four-straight infractions. Lethbridge would make them pay on three of these. With UBC's Kathleen Cahoon serving a penalty for boarding, Kelly Murray joined her in the sin bin for tripping, giving the Pronghorns a two-man advantage. Lethbridge's Tricia Van Vaerenbergh found a rebound after UBC's Danielle Dubé had kicked the point shot out, and Van Vaerenbergh whacked the puck past Dubé's glove for the 1-0 lead at 10:16. Lauren Fredrich would double the lead just 44 seconds later while still on the power-play with her deflection off a Jocelyn Sabourin point shot that found twine behind Dubé. UBC would send Lethbridge back to the power-play 1:06 after that goal, and Lethbridge struck again. Mattie Apperson's shot from the circle found its way through Dubé at 12:28 with Cailey Hay sitting for cross-checking, and the Pronghorns had an impressive 3-0 lead early on. Dubé's night weas over after just 12:28 as Samantha Langford took over for the veteran netminder.

Fifth-year forward Rebecca Unrau put the T-Birds on her shoulders as she responded in the second period for UBC. Unrau converted a rebound in front of Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson for her first of the season at the 4:40 mark, and then added her second goal at the 17:01 mark to get the T-Birds within a goal when she found some room past Anderson seconds after a Kirsten Reeves double-minor for a hit to the head had expired. Suddenly, we had a game going on in BC again as these two teams took the action to the third period.

Another minor penalty would give Lethbridge the advantage once more. With UBC's Logan Boyd sitting quietly after tripping a Lethbridge player, the Pronghorns scored at 7:44 when Aislinn Kooistra found some space past Langford for the 4-2 lead. Anderson would hold the fort the rest of the way as the rookie netminder earned her first CIS victory with a 4-2 win over the Thunderbirds.

FINAL SCORE: Lethbridge upsets UBC 4-2.

Lethbridge at BC - Game Two

This game was a much tighter game defensively from both sides, and UBC learned their lesson from the night before as they avoided the penalty box a little more. Both teams skated to a scoreless draw through 40 minutes, but there were chances on both sides with both UBC's Langford and Lethbridge's Anderson standing tall. We would see a tally in the final frame, though, as a winner was crowned on Saturday.

Lethbridge's Aislinn Kooistra found Jocelyn Sabourin in the middle of the ice at the blue line and her slap shot took a couple of redirections that Langford couldn't corral to put Lethbridge up 1-0. Langford appeared to be screened as well as Lethbridge did a good job in going to the net. That would be all the offence that the Pronghorns needed as Anderson was a wall in the Lethbridge net. Not even a late 6-on-4 situation could put the Thunderbirds on the board as Anderson recorded her first CIS shutout in the 1-0 win.

FINAL SCORE: Lethbridge shuts out UBC 1-0.

★★★ Three Stars ★★★

  1. Emma Waldenberger (RG) - Anytime you can light up a team for five goals and two assists in one weekend, you've pretty much guaranteed yourself the first star spot. Waldenberger is your early CWUAA scoring leader after laying a beating on Calgary.
  2. Alicia Anderson (LT) - The rookie netminder went into BC with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and walked away having stopped 61 of 63 shots she faced while shutting out the Thunderbirds once in two games. She's one of two goalies who are 2-0-0 on the season, and she looks like she might be the answer in the Pronghorns' crease this season.
  3. Jocelyn Sabourin (LT) - The third-year rearguard leads her team in points with four and was instrumental in the success of the Pronghorns this weekend. Sabourin was a solid player last year, and it appears she'll be one of the better defencemen in Canada West if she continues playing like she did.

Ontario Results

The Ontario University Athletics Conference had just three games on the schedule for this past weekend, so there wasn't much happening there.

The Guelph Griffins beat the Western Mustangs 3-0 on goals by Karli Shell, Kelly Gribbons, and Katherine Bailey while Stephanie Nehring pitched the shutout.

The Laurentian Voyageurs downed the Nipissing Lakers in overtime by a 2-1 score. Laurentian's Julie Hiebert and Nipissing's Bronwyn Bolduc traded goals in regulation time before MacAuley Carr gave Laurentian the win just 1:13 into the extra period. Emily Toffoli recorded the win.

The Western Mustangs bounded back on Sunday by downing the Waterloo Warriors 1-0 on Brianna Iazzolino's power-play goal in the second period. Kelly Campbell picked up the shutout while bringing her win-loss record to .500 at 1-1-0.

Quebec Results

Nada. Zilch. Zero. The regular season for the RSEQ doesn't start until Friday, October 16, so we have a little time before we'll see anything out of Quebec regarding women's hockey results. Hold tight until the 16th if you're waiting for that province's information.

Maritime Results

The Atlantic University Sports Conference starts their regular season on Friday, October 16, so stay tuned for those results in a couple of weeks on this feature. There will be a pile of scores as the Atlantic teams get their seasons underway.

Anything Else?

Like Beck said in The Rundown, "Listen, they've got a legitimate shot at repeating this year, I do not want to hurt them." The undefeated Pronghorns took down the UBC Thunderbirds at UBC, and will now venture into Panda territory as they take on the Alberta Pandas in Edmonton this upcoming weekend. Can Lethbridge make believers out of all of us?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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