Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Rundown - Week 17

It's the final week of play in Canada West women's hockey this season, and there were still a few playoff spots to be determined. With everyone back at full-strength after the Universiade Games finished in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the competition for these playoff spots was fierce. We'd see the scoring race finalized, the playoff spots cemented, and we'd find out who was hosting next weekend. Without further adieu, let's get this done!

LETHBRIDGE at SASKATCHEWAN: Lethbridge was looking to spoil Saskatchewan's fun as a regulation win by the Huskies would clinch fourth-place in the conference. After Saskatchewan outshot Lethbridge 8-3 in the first with nothing to show for it, the team in green would find the back of the net in the second period. Courtney Cormack found the rebound off a Kori Herner shot on the power-play that hit the post, and she buried the puck behind Jessica Lohues at 5:14 of the middle frame for the 1-0 Saskatchewan lead. The Huskies would double the lead ten minutes later when Cormack forced a turnover in the neutral zone and set up Kaitlin Willoughby at 15:58 for a 2-0 lead.

Lethbridge would capitalize on a Huskies mistake as Tricia Van Vaerenbergh caused a turnover in front of Cassidy Hendricks and Delaney Duchek would snipe a shot past Hendricks at 6:20 to make it a 2-1 game. While it looked like this game might get exciting down the stretch, Emily Upgang would have none of that as she beat Lohues on the backhand at 15:40. That was all that Hendricks needed as the she kept it a 3-1 game through to the final horn. Hendricks stopped 11 shots in the win while Lohues took the loss despite making 25 stops.

LETHBRIDGE at SASKATCHEWAN: In a game that meant nothing to either side, this was almost an entirely one-sided affair. Saskatchewan dominated almost every facet of the game, finishing the day with 42 shots while only giving up 13. Goals by Kaitlin Willoughby at 11:44 of the first period and a power-play goal by Bailee Bourassa at 8:26 of the second period was more than enough for Hendricks to earn the win and share a shutout with Jasey Rae Book.

There was some ugliness at the end of this game as Delaney Duchek was called for a cross-checking major and a game misconduct, but Saskatchewan would come away unscathed with a 2-0 win. Hendricks, as stated, earned the win with three saves in the first period while Alicia Anderson took the loss despite making 40 saves in this game. Book stopped ten shots over the final 40 minutes of play.

REGINA at CALGARY: With you know the results of the aforementioned games, these games became a little less meaningful for Regina. They still had some work to do, however, as Mount Royal could catch and surpass them depending on their results against UBC. Calgary, of course was looking to spoil Regina's weekend. And the Dinos went to work on that idea early! Delaney Freytook a pass from Sasha Vafina on the power-play, and she wired a shot past Morgan Baker at 4:10 for the 1-0 lead. That lead would be doubled seven minutes later when Rylee Smith cashed in a turnover in front of Baker at 11:19!

The Cougars wouldn't take that lead lightly. 40 seconds after the Smith goal, Kylie Kupper walked in all alone on Kelsey Roberts and the Calgary netminder for the 2-1 goal. The Cougars would use the man-advantage to even the score later in the first period. Emma Waldenberger tapped home a loose puck from the crease that just got past Roberts, and we had a 2-2 game entering the intermission.

Heather Berzins would put Calgary back on top as she found the back of the net from the high slot at 2:30 of the second period to put Calgary up 3-2. Three straight penalties from the midpoint of the second period spelled trouble for the Dinos. On the second power-play, Waldenberger scored her second of the game off a great rush by the Cougars as she went high over Roberts to make it 3-3 at 14:14.

Midway through the third period with Bailey Braden in the penalty box, Calgary's Sage Desjardins broke the deadlock. Paige Michalenko teed up a point shot that banked off the end boards. Desjardins teed up a one-timer that a diving Baker couldn't stop, and the Dinos led 4-3 at 11:17! For the remainder of the period, Roberts threw up a wall in the Calgary net as she denied chance after chance for the Cougars. When the dust settled, Calgary had defeated Regina 4-3, ending Regina's chances at moving to fourth-place. Roberts was brilliant in stopping 32 shots for the win while Baker made 19 stops in the loss.

REGINA at CALGARY: Regina still needed points to put pressure on Mount Royal from catching them while the Dinos were looking to really complicate the lives of the Cougars. And like Friday's game, the home squad jumped out to a first-period lead. Delaney Frey was sprung for a breakaway, and she made no mistake going five-hole on Jane Kish at 17:16 for the 1-0 lead.

After a scoreless second period where there were a few good chances, the third period saw the Cougars tie the game. Melissa Zerr took a pass in the slot and went high glove-side on Kelsey Roberts for the 1-1 equalizer at 9:53. That goal seemed to spark the Cougars, but they were turned away repeatedly by Roberts. At the final buzzer, the game remained tied so it was off to extra time!

In the free hockey, Alexis Larson picked up a puck in the corner, walked it out front, and fired a shot on Roberts that was deflected by Jaycee Magwood into the back of the net at 2:35 for the 2-1 Cougars win! With the four points on the weekend, Calgary guaranteed themselves seventh-place as well! Kish stopped 16 shots in the win while Roberts was outstanding once again as she stopped 44 shots.

MOUNT ROYAL at UBC: With Regina faltering on Friday and grabbing just two points on Saturday, Mount Royal had a golden opportunity to break up the battle of Saskatchewan. The only thing that stood in their way was the top-ranked team in the nation in the UBC Thunderbirds. To say that this game might have been a mismatch was quickly put to rest thanks to Mount Royal playing some tenacious defence against the T-Birds. We'd see no goals through 40 minutes of play, and the shot totals were 9-5 in favor of the Thunderbirds. In two periods of play.

There would be a goal in the third period, and it would stand as the only goal of the game. Moments after a Mount royal penalty expired, Logan Boyd grabbed a loose puck at the top of the crease and zipped a shot past Emma Pincott at 13:37 for the 1-0 lead. Despite putting intense pressure on the T-Birds and pulling Pincott with 2:22 remaining, the Cougars couldn't claw their way back into this game as UBC takes it by a 1-0 score. Amelia Boughn was perfect on 13 shots for the shutout while Pincott stopped 13 of 14 shots in the loss.

MOUNT ROYAL at UBC: The Cougars could not catch Regina after losing on Friday night, so the results of this game only mattered to UBC who were looking to set a Canada West record with their 24th win of the season. However, it was a spirited effort in keeping the pride for Mount Royal that ruled the storyline on this night. Shawni Rodebeck's shot from high in the UBC zone found its way through traffic and a screened Amelia Boughn to open the scoring as Mount Royal grabbed a 1-0 lead at 12:32. UBC looked a little sluggish in the period as they only managed five shots in the frame.

The second period was more of what we were expecting when these two teams tangle as scoring chances were seen on both sides. Channia Alexander put the Cougars up 2-0 when she scored a power-play marker late in the period at 18:42, and that would setup an entertaining third period. Would we see another vintage UBC comeback?

That answer took 20 minutes to figure out, and it would be a "no". Despite carrying the offence in the third period, the T-Birds simply could not solve the goaltending of Zoe DeBeauville on this night. At the final horn, the Cougars had taken this game by a 2-0 score and prevented UBC from setting the Canada West record with their 24th win. DeBeauville was solid in making 24 saves for her second shutout of the season while Boughn made 15 saves in the loss.

MANITOBA at ALBERTA: In perhaps the biggest games of the season for these two teams, the Pandas played host to the Manitoba Bisons with second-place in the conference on the line. The Bisons needed four of a possible six points on the weekend to earn second-place while a regulation win would be enough for the Pandas as they held the tie-breaker scenario. Because of this, Friday night's game was critical for both teams. The home side struck early and often in this one. Ashley Morin beat Rachel Dyck just 3:24 into the game to put Alberta up 1-0. Jordyn Zacharias continued her hot play by elevating her rebound attempt off her own wrap-around over Lindsay Post at 11:19 to make it a 1-1 game.

However, Alberta began to capitalize on mistakes. Jaslin Sawatzky picked up a loose puck in front of Dyck after Manitoba was careless in their own zone, and she sniped her first USports goal just 39 seconds after Manitoba had tied the game. Lisa Lloyd picked up her first USports goal later in the period as she deflected an Abby Benning shot past Dyck at 18:04 to put Alberta up 3-1, and the Pandas are dangerous when they have a lead.

Manitoba came out in the second period with guns a-blazing, but it was Lindsey Post who was the story as she stopped all nine shots she faced in the frame. Lisa Lloyd must have enjoyed her goal in the first period, though, because she made it two career goals just 1:32 into the third period when she went five-hole on Dyck to make it 4-1. Megan Neduzak scored a goal from in front of the net as she crept in from the point to beat Post at 10:44, but the Pandas were simply too much for the Bisons on this night. Autumn MacDougall would ice the game with six seconds to play with an empty-netter as the Pandas took Friday's game and second-place in the conference with a 5-2 win. Post stopped 20 shots for the victory while Dyck suffered the loss in making 18 saves.

MANITOBA at ALBERTA: With Alberta having locked down second-place and relegating Manitoba to third-place, Saturday afternoon's game meant little in terms of standings. However, both teams were looking to go into the playoffs on a win, so it mattered psychologically. And the Bisons took that note to heart as they came out flying in the first period. Alanna Sharman had some incredible zip in her step, and she danced around defender Lindsay Weech before undressing Lindsey Post on a forehand-backhand move at 7:02 to put Manitoba up 1-0. Rachel Dyck, to her credit, made a number of key stops to hold the 1-0 lead as the teams entered the intermission.

The second period was more of the same as the two netminders put on a display of goaltending. The Pandas, however, would finally solve Dyck through some crisp passing as Cayle Dillon hit Erica Nelson tape-to-tape, and Nelson fed Amy Boucher with a cross-ice feed as she was in full stride. Boucher broke in on the partial breakaway on Dyck and went high blocker-side at 18:36 to make it a 1-1 game through 40 minutes!

It came down to a period of hockey, and it be Lisa Lloyd who struck for the third time this weekend. Hannah Fouillard made a nice pass across the crease from one knee to Lloyd who found nothing but net to shoot at with Dyck being down and out, and she made it 2-1 at 13:08. From there, the Pandas controlled the puck and kept everything to the outside for Post as she shut down the Bisons the rest of the way in the 2-1 victory. Post made 12 stops in the win while Dyck took her second-straight loss in a 24-save performance.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
British Columbia
67 86 45
62 74 39
56 84 46
vs MRU
44 56 52
vs REG
39 62 65
Mount Royal
36 44 56
18 42 91
14 37 91

The CWUAA women's hockey playoffs start Friday with Mount Royal travelling to Manitoba and Regina heading north up the highway to Saskatoon. The unfortunate thing about Canada West hockey is that there are only two spots at the USports National Championship for Canada West teams, meaning one of the three top-ten teams in this conference will miss the big dance hosted by Queen's University. As it stands, one of Manitoba or Alberta will get to play two ranked teams prior to advancing to the National Championship provided that Manitoba advances past Mount Royal in the opening round.

If you're looking to catch the Manitoba-Mount Royal games, we'll have all the live action on Friday night on the radio at 101.5 FM, on the UMFM website, or via the UMFM app starting at 6:30pm. Saturday will see the broadcast move to UMFM's Second Stream found on the UMFM website where we'll kick things off for Game Two at 6:30pm again. If necessary, we'll be back on the Sunday for Game Three on the Second Stream at 3:30pm. Join us for the action as the Canada West women's hockey playoffs get underway!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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