It was a big weekend for the sports world, with Nick Diaz taking on Carlos Condit inside the octagon at UFC 143, and the New York Giants and New England Patriots going to war on the gridiron during Super Bowl Sunday, many people may have forgotten that the University of Regina teams were also in action.
It was a very special weekend for Carly Graham and Joanna Zalesiak as the duo played their final home games at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport.
Matching up against the Alberta Pandas (11-7), the Cougars were determined to let Graham and Zalesiak walk away from the CKHS victorious and with their undefeated record still in tact.
Night 1 saw the two teams trade leads a total of nine times during the first three quarters. A back-and-forth battle to say the least looked to be over as the Cougars took a 15-point lead heading into the final quarter.
However, the Pandas weren’t done yet as they managed to rally a 14-2 run to suddenly cut the lead to just three points in the dying seconds of the game.
Thanks to last second free throws by Brittany Read and Graham, the Pandas were unable to steal the Cougars thunder, leading to an 81-76 victory for the home team.
Night No. 2 – officially titled Senior Night – saw an eerily similar game story take place on the court as the night before. Once again, multiple lead changes were the early story as the Cougars and Pandas switched places a total of 11 times.
The Cougars began to pull away late in the final frame, scoring 10 consecutive points in a two-minute span. Regina refused to go easy, even in the last minute of play they scored seven free throws to officially put a stop to the Pandas, 84-70.
The Cougars will play their final two games of the regular season this weekend against Lethrbidge (6-12).
Last weekends series against the Lethbridge Pronghorns (14-8-2) saw some of the most productive offensive power that the Cougars have mustered all season.
Friday night saw Hillary Lerat open the scoring early for the Cougars on a power play goal set up by Carleen Meszaros and Gina Campbell halfway through the first period.
And then, the floodgates opened.
The Cougars went on to score a total of five unanswered goals including Kaitlin Sherven’s marker in the first to push her season total to two. Rianne Wight added another for Regina five minutes into the second while Kendra Finch got her first and second goals of the season over the last two periods.
The Cougars were dominant en route to a 5-0 victory on Night 1, highlighted by pretty scoring and a 23-save shutout performance by Jennifer Shmidt, but Night 2 was not so simple.
A scoreless first period gave way to Lethrbridge’s Jenna-Marie Durnin breaking open the scoring six minutes into the second. Wight made short work of the Pronghorns lead, adding her own single less than a minute later.
Brooklyn Moskowy was responsible for the Cougars go-ahead goal with two minutes left in the second, but with one period left to play the score wouldn’t stand.
With just seven seconds left in the game, it appeared that the Cougars were going to skate away with a weekend sweep, but Sadie Lenstra was able to sneak one pass Lisa Urban in the dying seconds to push the game into extra time.
A scoreless overtime gave way to a shootout, where ultimately the Pronghorns were able to steal the victory away from the Cougars as Shelby Ballendine was credited with the shootout winner 3-2.
The Cougars will play their final games of the season at home against the Alberta Pandas. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at The Co-operators Centre.
Track and Field
The Cougars were pleased to have numerous members of the track and field team reach the podium at the Bison Classic in Winnipeg on Feb. 4.
Chris Pickering and Justin Baker lead the way for the men, while Megan Rumpel paced things for the women.
Pickering finished gold in shot put while Baker took first in the 60-metre hurdles; both of their performances were well ahead of the CIS auto-qualifying marks. Rumpel also placed first in high jump; with a jump of 1.70m she was just one centimeter away from the CIS auto-qualifying mark and the Cougars record.
Rumpel and the rest of the track and field team will look to qualify for the CIS championships during the Queen City Kinsmen Indoor Classic, taking place at the Regina Fieldhouse this Saturday, time TBA.