Battle of Saskatchewan closes Cougars hockey season

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Magwood notched her 100th career point as the Cougar Women thrilled in a shootout win

It was an exciting weekend of hockey in the province. Fans were treated to four renditions of the battle of Saskatchewan; both the men and women split games between Regina and Saskatoon. Both teams had an uphill battle this weekend against the traditional powerhouse Huskies. Coming into the weekend, both teams had important playoff aspirations: the men needed at least one win to get into the Can West playoffs and the women needed to eke out four points to guarantee a first-round home game.

The first night went the Huskies’ way on both fronts. At home, the Cougar women played an overtime nail biter in front of 877 Cougars hockey fans. Jenna Merk scored first for the Cougars, but the Huskies tied it up in the third courtesy of Abby Shirley. Neither team could solve the opposing goaltender through five-on-five overtime and the game went to three-on-three. Saskatchewan’s leading scorer Bailee Bourassa put one past Jane Kish to hold the Cougars to a single point.

On the men’s rink in Saskatoon the Huskies came out fast and never looked back. They scored the game winner just six minutes into the game and followed it up with two more in the first period to sink the Cougars chances. Unfortunately for U of R, the playoff race was also out of their hands as UBC defeated Mount Royal to eliminate the Cougars from playoff contention. Despite this heartbreaker, the Cougars came back to Regina strong for senior’s night.

The team played hard for graduating players Dawson MacAuley, Isaac Schafer, and Landon Peel. Playing some of their best hockey of the year, the Cougars held even with the dominant Huskies through two periods, getting goals from Tristan Frei and Connor Odelein. The game got away from them at the end, with a couple of empty netters sealing their season with a 2-6 loss.

In Saskatoon, the women played another barn burner. The Cougars and Huskies traded leads through regulation. The visiting Cougars got out in front courtesy of Merissa Zerr, but U of S equalized and then took a one goal lead in the third period. Not to be denied, the Cougars got a huge goal from standout rookie Paige Hubbard with just 40 seconds remaining in regulation to take the game to yet another overtime period. Again, overtime wasn’t enough to settle the game and it went all the way to a shootout. There, two of the Cougars biggest assets combined to win it. Kish stopped all four shots she faced, and Cougars leading scorer Jaycee Magwood finished it for the Cougars. Magwood also reached a huge milestone, getting her 100th point in her final career game as a Cougar, a mark surpassed by only two other players in Cougars history. Coach Sarah Hodges talks about how important Magwood has been to the Cougars.

“She’s a good shooter and that’s her biggest strength. Every team needs to have somebody who can put the puck in the net – she’s had a good season and a very good career.”

Although they came up just a point short of their home playoff berth, the Cougar women will continue to the post season against the Mount Royal Cougars, a team they are 2-2 against in the regular season.

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