Controversy at the Co-operators Centre

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Disallowed goal dooms Cougars men’s hockey team

Autumn McDowell
Sports Writer

The University of Regina Cougars split their back-to-back series against the visiting UBC Thunderbirds last weekend at the Co-operators Centre.

On Friday, the Cougars dropped a 6-5 decision. Although the action was extremely slow early on, things really picked up in the second and third and eventually ended in controversy. With the Cougars down by one with just 1:10 left on the clock, Cougars forward Matt Strueby was awarded a penalty shot. Strueby appeared to have scored what would have been the game-tying goal and probably would have forced overtime. The light went on, the horn sounded and the crowd cheered, but the goal was no good.

The first period was a slow one at best. Regina was perfect on penalty killing, but went 0-2 with the man advantage. Opposing goalies, Adam Ward and Jordan White were perfect through the first, causing both teams to leave the period with goose eggs still on the board.

Things really got going in the second period and proved to be an extremely tight battle on offence. Regina hit the scoreboard first after Dillon Johnstone netted one just 59 seconds in. Johnstone slammed hard into the end boards after scoring, and was slow to get up but would stay in the game. Marc Desloges replied for the T-Birds roughly two minutes later to even things up at one, but then managed to pull ahead on a goal by Dustin Kimber. Brett Leffler poked one past White to once again even things up, but it was UBC who would leave the period on top off of a goal from Whyatt Hamilton. The Cougars headed into the locker room trailing 3-2.

The offence did not slow down at all in the third, as Desloges picked his second goal of the night for UBC, mere minutes into the final frame. UBC was then able to pull ahead by three, as Hamilton also netted his second of the night. With the Thunderbirds’ lead now 5-2, Regina was in a bit of a hole. If Regina was going to register a comeback, they would have to do it fast before the game became out of reach. Regina did just that when Captain Ryan Bender ripped a shot from the point and found the back of the net after going through traffic to get there. Tyler Penny put the Cougars back to within one on a play that saw the Cougars come close multiple times.

The Cougars were within one, but UBC was able to snipe another one past Ward to give the T-Birds that two goal cushion. Regina wasn’t giving up yet as Ryan Sawka tipped in a shot from Russ Nielsen, but that would be the last of the offence generated from either team. Then came the controversial penalty shot which was awarded to Strueby after UBC’s Ryan Kakoske was charged with a delay of game penalty. Strueby had the fate of regulation on his shoulders as he was set to take his first penalty shot of the season. Strueby was able to beat White and, although it looked to most as though the puck clearly went in, it apparently struck iron instead.

However, the Cougars were able to get sweet revenge against UBC the very next night as they rolled to a 6-2 win over the Thunderbirds. After splitting the weekend series, which seems to be a habit of the Cougars, they now sit in sole possession of third place in the conference with a 4-4-0 record. The Cougars will be back in action on Friday and Saturday as they take on the University of Manitoba Bisons (3-2-1).

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