The U of R men’s hockey team keeps splitting series
What the Puck?!
The University of Regina Cougars men’s hockey team has a love affair with splitting weekend series.
During the past three weekend series the Cougars have competed in, they have split every one. What’s more, they’ve won every Friday game and went on to lose to the same team the very next day.
The Cougars have yet to string together two consecutive wins this season, most recently splitting against the University of Calgary Dinos.
The third-place Dinos are always a force to be reckoned with in almost all Canada West sports, including hockey. Many predicted the Cougars would have their asses handed to them in both games of the weekend series, but the Cougars rose to the occasion on Night 1 thanks to the work of two sophomores.
Forward Matt Strueby continued his offensive touch on Friday, opening the scoring six minutes into the first when he put the finishing touches on a play set up by Carter Selinger and Ryan Sawka.
Strueby was just getting warmed up, as he plotted his second of the night with just over a minute left before the first intermission.
Calgary would remove its goose egg from the scoreboard and end Lucas Gore’s bid at a shutout when Blake Clement snuck one past the home team with less than a minute left in the second period. However, Selinger would restore Regina’s two-score advantage five minutes into the third when he lit the lamp for the first time this season.
Strueby would finish off the hat trick with an empty-net goal in the dying seconds of the third period. The empty-netter gave Strueby his first university hat trick, and also propelled him to the top of the Canada West goal-scoring race.
If anyone is wondering how many people threw hats onto the ice after Strueby’s hat trick, the answer is no one.
Although the Regina boys were sitting pretty after Friday night’s 4-1 victory, the split-series curse the Cougars are currently under would strike again on Saturday.
Calgary’s Mark Stojan would open up the scoring halfway through the first, but Lucas Isely would quickly retaliate for Regina, burying his own goal barely a minute later to tie things up at one.
A powerplay marker by Taylor Stefishen with just over three minutes left in the opening quarter, and a full-strength goal by Walker Wintoneak just a minute after that, gave the Dinos a three-goal lead heading into the first intermission.
The Cougars came out ready to battle back in the second, and then the penalties started. Regina racked up 23 penalty minutes in the second, including one game misconduct. Needless to say, the Cougars spent the vast majority of the second killing penalties instead of scoring goals.
Craig Cuthbert received a five-minute major for checking from behind three minutes into the second period and was also kicked out of the game as a result. During the five-minute penalty kill, the Dinos managed to get two past Gore, as Joel Eisenkirch and Luke Egener scored just twenty seconds apart. And just like that, the Cougars were in a four-goal hole.
The Dinos would put yet another nail in the Cougars coffin as Clement scored Calgary’s sixth goal of the game halfway through the final period. The Dinos went on to win the game 6-1 and evened up the weekend series.
Undisciplined play was undoubtedly the cause of the loss on the second night, but the Cougars have to find some way to break from of this split-series curse.
Regina (3-6-1) will attempt to put a stop to the curse this weekend when it travels to Lethbridge to take on the Pronghorns (2-8-1) in a pair of games.