Jane Kish leads women’s hockey back into in the playoff hunt
Cougars goalie backstops charging green and gold
Heading into the reading week break, the Cougars women’s hockey team was in rough shape. Sitting in last place, with a third of the Canada West season already in the books, this pause was a perfect opportunity to reset their season. Fast forward two weeks and things are looking up. The team came out of the bye week flying, sweeping the Manitoba Bisons 2-0 and notably, the team got back-to-back shutouts from Jane Kish, who has since improved her season record to 4-2 with an incredible 0.949 save percentage. For Coach Hodges, the bye week reset has helped to team to get back on track and in the playoff hunt.
“Overall, I’m happy with our effort and attention to detail since the bye week. We’ve competed hard every day and have seen our results improve as a result. It’s always tough to win in Manitoba, so to sweep there is huge.”
However, after a dominant weekend in Manitoba, the high-flying Cougars have fallen closer to earth, with a 1-1 split result against the University of Alberta Pandas.
On Friday night the Cougars put together a fantastic performance in all phases of the game. Leading scorer Jaycee Magwood got the team on the board first with a powerplay goal, and then Jordan Kulbida scored the game winner just 30 seconds later. The defence was solid as well, particularly the special teams. U of R killed a whopping seven penalties, and Kish continued her outstanding run, stopping all 21 shots she faced to get her third consecutive shutout. Coach Hodges was impressed with her team’s ability to shut down the Pandas, who have the leagues leading scorer, Autumn MacDougall.
“Alberta has a great skating team, and offensive team, so to shut them out is a big accomplishment.”
On Saturday the Cougars were decidedly less spectacular. Although they showed some signs of offensive pressure, especially at the start of the second, they managed only 9 shots in the entire game. Kish stood on her head again, making plenty of great saves, but the team in front of her simply gave up too many good chances. The league’s leading scorer MacDougall was a terror all over the ice. Unlike on Friday, when the Cougars did a great job containing her, MacDougall used her speed and skill in dominant fashion. She had seven shots, three of which gave her a hat-trick, and all three of her teams’ goals. Despite this weaker performance, the team is trending in the right direction overall, pulling their record up to 5-7 to get within a single win of third-place Lethbridge.
Next week, the Cougars will be in Saskatoon against the fourth-place University of Saskatchewan Huskies. A sweep against their rivals would bring them back to .500 and bring them closer to the playoffs.