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Cougars goaltender breaks schools record

Is this the butterfly effect in action?/ Arthur Ward
Is this the butterfly effect in action?/ Arthur Ward

Toni Ross sets season and career wins mark

University of Regina Cougars goaltender Toni Ross has set the school’s all-time record for wins, with 32. With her team’s victory over the University of Alberta Pandas on Jan. 23, the fifth-year kinesiology major and nursing graduate also recorded the school’s mark for most wins in a single season, with 13. It is a record that Ross says she was not completely aware of.

“I had an idea, just from people telling me, but I didn’t realize how exciting it was for everyone around me.”

Her sights, she insists, are firmly on the rest of the season and not her personal accomplishments. With their sweep of the Mount Royal University Cougars, the U of R’s contingent now sits with a 15-8-1 conference record. They have been extremely strong at home, posting a 9-3-1 mark, while also having a winning record on the road. As Ross says, this season’s journey is far from over for the team, and that’s why she was not particularly focused on her record-breaking accomplishments.

“The season’s not over yet and we haven’t won anything yet.”

With two more weekends left in the Cougars’ conference schedule – in Vancouver against The University of British Columbia, followed by a home-at-home series with the rival U of S Huskies – now is the time for the team to focus in on the playoff schedule that lies ahead. Ross, for one, feels as if the team is well positioned for a long and fruitful run in the Canada West playoffs and beyond.

“It really does feel like this is the best team that we’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve had a great team the last four years, but this team really has the potential to do something really special. It’s pretty awesome for that to be my fifth-year experience. It’s a pretty fun group of girls [to play with].”

Part of what makes this season so special for Ross is the group dynamic, along with the talent level of this year’s squad. This is a team she thinks can equal one of the best showings in the program’s history.

“I think we have a lot of depth and a lot of skill, but we also have that team dynamic, and everyone’s really buying in and it’s starting to feel kind of like that year that we made it to Can West Finals [2013-14], where it was a great team environment. We didn’t maybe have as much skill that year, but we had such a great team, and this year it feels a lot like that, but now we have that extra boost of skill and players really coming into their own.”

Currently sitting second in the conference, with the aforementioned two regular season weekends to play, the team looks poised to make a deep run into the playoffs, and hopefully send their starting goalie off with more hardware to go along with her record book-related accolades.

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I'm not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.