Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Rundown - Week 3

We enter the third week with the usual suspects on top of the Canada West standings. However, there are some teams who either have been playing well or have been slightly inconsistent below those two teams, and we'll see where that brought us this weekend as the fifth and sixth games of the Canada West women's hockey schedule were played. Seven points separated first-place UBC from eighth-place Mount Royal, so every point mattered once again early on. Let's see how this week's action unfolded on The Rundown!

UBC at REGINA: The top-two teams in Canada West hockey met early this season as the Thunderbirds traveled to Regina. The first period would see no scoring as it seemed like the two teams were feeling one another out, and there were only two minor penalties handed out per side with UBC carrying an 11-8 advantage in shots into the intermission.

The second period? It was go-time. Bailey Braden cashed in a rebound off a Mariah McKersie shot that Tory Micklash couldn't handle to put Regina up 1-0 at the 3:05 mark. The Cougars kept coming at UBC, and they were rewarded with a second goal. Emma Waldenberger collected a rebound off a Sam Geekie shot, and she whacked home her third goal of the season at 9:05 to make it 2-0 for Regina. But a two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey, and UBC proved why.

Captain Celine Tardif loaded up the cannon and found the back of the net at 12:34 to cut the lead to 2-1, and Brielle Bellerive chipped a rebound home off a Kathleen Cahoun shot that Morgan Baker couldn't freeze while on the power-play. At 18:13, we had an even game at 2-2. However, the fireworks hadn't even started. At the end of the period, YBC's Kirsten Toth was assessed a four-minute double-minor for a check to the head while Jaycee Magwood took a minor for bodychecking. Both players tussled, causing Toth to receive another roughing minor, and the referees decided both players needed time to cool off with ten-minute misconducts. Wow.

The extended Regina power-play didn't need long to capitalize in the third period. Jordina Kulbida took a pass from Martina Maskova high in the zone, and her long shot somehow eluded Micklash up high for the power-pay goal to put Regina up 3-2 at 1:08. Penalties, though, would be Regina's undoing of this lead. Four seconds after Maskova's penalty had expired, Emily Costales hit Ireland Perrott in the slot with a pass, and Ireland's quick shot was behind Baker less than a second later as she tied the game at the 9:39 mark.

It seemed like these two tams were content to beat the hell out of each other, but another penalty cost the Cougars. Braden was sent to the box at 18:09 to put UBC back on the power-play, and they ended it. Tardif found a wide-open Hannah Clayton-Carroll on the backdoor, and Clayton-Carroll had no trouble with the tap-in at 19:08 to give UBC the 4-3 victory. Tory Micklash was huge in the victory, stopping 39 shots on the night, while Morgan Baker suffered the loss despite making 31 saves.

UBC at REGINA: If Friday night's game felt like a full-on playoff war, Saturday's game was just as physical as these two teams develop some real hatred for one another. Like Friday's game, there was no scoring in the opening frame, but the two teams were far more cautious defensively as UBC took a 6-4 lead in shots to the dressing room.

If you're following this script, you know what happens in this period. Four minor penalties were handed out to each team, but unlike Friday there was only one goal scored! Jaycee Magwood fed Tamara McVannel at the point, and McVannel's shot cleanly beat a screen Amelia Boughn at the 5:05 mark to give Regina the 1-0 lead! It appeared we might have a two-goal lead, but Emma Coulter was ruled to have interfered with Boughn as the puck entered the net, and that goal was waved off. Despite all the power-plays, we'd head to the third lead with that slim Cougars lead.

In the final stanza, UBC ran into some penalty trouble that limited their chances, but it was an impressively aggressive Cougars team that outshot UBC 12-3 to keep the T-Birds from mounting any offence. When the final buzzer rang out, Jane Kish had closed the door on the Thunderbirds for the 1-0 win! Kish recorded a mere 13 saves on the night for the shutout while Amelia Boughn stopped 22 shots in the loss.

CALGARY at ALBERTA: Canada West's third-place team had a home-and-home with the improved Calgary Dinos this past weekend. The teams would play in Edmonton before heading south, and the home team would be the first to strike in this game. Hannah Olenyk found herself all alone as she broke in on Kelsey Roberts, and she pulled off a gorgeous deke, pulling the puck from her backhand to her forehand and around the outstretched leg of Roberts to slide it home for the 1-0 Pandas lead just 4:49 in. The Pandas doubled their lead just forty seconds later when Ashley Morin gained a step on Paige Michalenko and wired a shot past Roberts for the 2-0 lead. To add a little salt to the two-goal wound, the Pandas completely dominated the period, outshooting the Dinos 12-0 by the time the clocked reach 0:00 in the first period.

The second period saw the Dinos come out with a little more gusto, and they were rewarded when they scored on their first shot of the game. Some good passing on the power-play saw Laine Grace feed Sage Desjardins at the edge of the crease, and she tapped the puck home into a yawning cage with Dayna Owen out of position to make it 2-1 at 4:08. Calgary was the more aggressive team in the second period, leading 8-7 in shots in the middle frame, but they would get no closer as the Pandas and Dayna Owen took the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

The third period, however, was another smothering showcase of dominance by the home team as the Pandas completely shut the Dinos down once more. Roberts was outstanding in keeping the game a one-goal difference, but she can't do everything out there as Alberta outshot Calgary 11-1 in the final period. In the end, it just wasn't enough as Alberta took this game 2-1. Owen had a rather quiet night in making eight stops of the win while Roberts was spectacular in 28-save loss.

ALBERTA at CALGARY: The second-half of the home-and-home series went three hours south via Highway 2 as the Pandas and Dinos met in Calgary on Saturday. Both teams came out the gate fired up with some solid end-to-end action to begin the game, but it would be the Pandas who would strike first on the power-play. With Holly Ruether sitting in the box for a bodycheck, the Pandas moved the puck around until Cayle Dillon could get a quick snapshot off that would be deflected in front by Autumn MacDougall past Kelsey Roberts at 7:42 to give the Pandas the lead. Both teams would continue pressing, but there would be no other goals despite the two teams being even at eight shots apiece through twenty minutes.

The Pandas would use the power-play early in the second period to double their lead. Sage Desjardins was whistled for hooking, and the Pandas needed just 23 seconds to make it 2-0. After gaining control of the puck, Taylor Kezama took a pass from Dillon and fired the puck past Roberts at 3:46 to make it a two-goal game. From that point on, it was the goaltender show as both Kelsey Roberts and Kirsten Chamberlin thwarted chances at both ends of the ice. A scoreless third period would see the goalies duel again, but the final buzzer left the Pandas holding that two-goal lead and a second victory over the Dinos. Chamberlin was solid all night in stopping all 14 shots sent her way for her first U SPORTS shutout and first U SPORTS win while Roberts was outstanding in a 32-save loss.

MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: It seemed odd that Manitoba would have their top-three centers out for a game against their prairie rivals, but the injury bug has bitten the Bisons early. Saskatchewan was looking to keep their lead on the Bisons in the standings, but the first period would help neither club as both Manitoba's Lauren Taraschuk and Saskatchewan's Chloe Marshall were solid in keeping this a scoreless game.

The second period was more of the same as the two netminders stood their ground. However, Leah Bohlken would have none of it as her wrister from the face-off dot had eyes in finding room under Taraschuk's left leg at 3:52 to put the Huskies up by a goal. Despite the Bisons outshooting the Huskies 9-8, Marshall wouldn't be fazed as she kept this game a one-goal affair through forty minutes.

The Bisons looked to capitalize on an early power-play in the third period, but Marshall made a couple of great saves to keep the Bisons off the board. It would be a late power-play where the Bisons nearly found the equalizer, but the puck found the crossbar and stayed out before Erica Rieder had a chance seconds later, but Mashall again denied the Bisons from finding the twine. At the end of the night, the Huskies pitched the 1-0 shutout! Marshall stopped 25 shots for her first U SPORTS shutout while Taraschuk was solid in stopping 20 shots in the loss. Highlights of the game can be seen below!

MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: It was a little hard to believe that with all of Manitoba's firepower, they were shutout the night before. Could the Huskies continue that shutout streak versus the Bisons? That answer would be no as the Bisons opened the scoring at 14:12 of the first period when Jordy Zacharias picked the pocket of a Huskies defender, cut towards the net, and dragged the puck around Chloe Marshall before tapping it into the yawning cage on the backhand for the 1-0 Bisons lead that they would maintain into the intermission.

Manitoba would double their lead early in the second period. After some strong work behind the net by a couple of players, the puck came out to Alanna Sharman who went high on the blocker side past Marshall from the hash marks to make it 2-0 at the 3:48 mark. The Huskies would respond minutes later. Kaitlin Willoughby picked up a loose puck near center ice, skated it into the Manitoba zone on the right side, and let a wrister go from inside the face-off circle that found the net just inside the far post past Rachel Dyck at 7:11 to make it a 2-1 game. Dyck, however, was sharp all period long as Saskatchewan outshot Manitoba 13-3 in the frame, but could only boast the one goal.

It took another solid individual effort from Willoughby in the third period to even the score. Willoughby came into the zone against Erica Rieder and got a shot off that Dyck was able to kick aside, but Willoughby followed her own shot and slide the rebounder under an outstretched Dyck at 11:50 to tie the game at 2-2! The Bisons, though, would find a third goal on the power-play. With Emily Upgang sitting in the box, Erica Rieder looked like she had a goal when she rang her slap shot off the crossbar. Manitoba would recover and control the puck, and a cross-ice pass from Alanna Sharman to Rieder standing inside the face-off circle was one-timed by Rieder past Marshall at 15:33 to put Manitoba back up by a goal! From there. Rachel Dyck held the fort as Manitoba captured the split with Saskatchewan with the 3-2 victory. Dyck made 25 saves in the win while Marshall stopped 19 shots in the loss. Highlights are below!

LETHBRIDGE at MOUNT ROYAL: Lethbridge and Mount Royal generally aren't near the top of the standings when the dust settles, but Lethbridge came out of the gates early with strong goaltending from Alicia Anderson to pick up some important points in their first games despite not having a regulation win. Mount Royal, on the other hand, was also looking for its first regulation win of the season, and they needed points to remain relevant early on in this Canada West season after dropping both games a week earlier. It would be the visitors, though, who struck first. Jodi Gentile's slap shot was stopped by Zoe DeBeauville, but Tricia Van Vaerenbergh was in perfect position to tap in the rebound at 3:24 to give Lethbridge the 1-0 lead. That goal seemed to awaken the sleeping Cougars who peppered Anderson and the 'Horns with 15 shots throughout the period to Lethbridge's four shots, but they couldn't solve the netminder through twenty minutes.

While there was reported about it after the game, Emily Severson replaced Zoe DeBeauville to start the second period, leading to speculation that perhaps DeBeauville had been injured in the first period. It didn't seem to matter to the Pronghorns, though. Katelyn Breitkreuz found a puck in a scramble in front of Severson, and she slid it past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead just 47 seconds into the frame. Again, the Cougars responded by taking the game back at the Pronghorns, but Anderson was equal to the task. The Pronghorns went up by three towards the end of the period when Alli Borrow tipped Jodi Gentile's point shot past Severson at 15:48, and that lead became a four-goal lead minutes later on the power-play when Delaney Duchek deflected Eryn Johanson's slap shot past Severson at 18:37.

The only question needing to be asked in the third period was whether or not Anderson would hold her shutout. That answer, unfortunately, was no as Kate Hufnagel picked up a rebound off a Tatum Amy shot on the power-play, and netted the puck behind Anderson at the 7:30 mark to make it 4-1. That would be all the offence that Mount Royal would find on this night, though, as the Pronghorns, backed by an outstanding goaltending performance by Anderson, take the Friday night game by the 4-1 score. Anderson made 31 stops in the victory while Severson stopped 12 shots she faced. For the record, DeBeauville took the loss after making three stops on four shots in the opening period.

MOUNT ROYAL at LETHBRIDGE: The second-half of the home-and-home between these two southern Alberta teams went down in Lethbridge, and the game had a different feeling than the one before it in Calgary. Mount Royal was the far more aggressive team in the opening period, but the Pronghorns had chances of their own. The only problem? Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson and Mount Royal's Zoe DeBeauville were having none of it. Through one period, we had a scoreless draw with Mount Royal leading in shots with a 15-9 margin.

It would be early in the second period when the Cougars finally solved Anderson. Megan Carver's shot from the right face-off circle glanced off a Pronghorns defender to get by Anderson at 5:19, and the visitors were ahead 1-0. Later in the period with the teams playing four skaters aside, Tianna Ko split the defence off the half wall in the Proghorns' zone, and she went short side on Anderson to make it a 2-0 game. The Cougars dominated in the second period and came away with two goals while outshooting the Pronghorns 18-2 and 33-11 overall!

Carver would add her second of the night and third Cougars goal on a great individual effort while shorthanded. Carver blocked a shot and raced away on the breakaway where she deked forehand-backhand and made a good shot that appeared to have been stopped by Anderson's glove, but the puck had just enough power to trickle across the line at 4:40 for the 3-0 lead! While the Pronghorns had chances in the final fifteen minutes, none were good enough to beat DeBeauville on this night as she and her Cougars came away with the 3-0 victory! DeBeauville was perfect on all 18 shots she faced while Anderson made 39 saves in the loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
13 15 10
vs REG
British Columbia
12 17 11
vs LET
12 17 14
10 13 12
vs CGY
9 16 17
7 8 9
Mount Royal
5 10 16
vs MAN
4 3 10

These standings are starting to look oddly familiar as we make our way towards Week Four. I'm a little concerned about Manitoba's recent rash of injuries that will only be complicated by Venla Hovi's leaving the team for the Four Nations Cup as Finland prepares for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. They dp have great depth, but that depth may be tested early with Venla scheduled to be in Tampa Bay until November 12. We'll have to see how the Bisons weather the storm over the next few weeks. Aside from that, the Pandas are rounding into form, the Thunderbirds continue to roll, Regina is proving they're the real deal, and Saskatchewan is proving they're a tough bunch to handle. If you're not excited for the remainder of this season, you might need to see if you still have a pulse!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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