Worth a shot

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The University of Regina women’s hockey team takes to the ice

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

The University of Regina women’s hockey team could be a force to be reckoned with this season, despite what people think.

After finishing out of the playoffs with a 9-16-2 record in 2010-11, the Cougars look to climb the Canada West ladder to be recognized as a contender. The Cougars are possibly one of the most underestimated teams in Canada West this year, after being ranked fifth out of a possible seven in a Canada West pre-season coaches poll, it would seem that Regina has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

In order to improve on last season, the Cougars will be relying heavily on veteran presence in order to achieve success this year.

Head coach Sarah Hodges believes that four returning players will be key components of this year’s squad: Paige Wheeler, Rianne White, Gina Campbell, and Lisa Urban.

Apart from the veterans that make up a large portion of this years squad, the staff did a tremendous job with off-season recruiting, as it managed to pick up nine players, all of which have the potential to make an immediate impact. Hodges claims that three players for fans to take notice of this season include Carleen Meszaros, Shalyn Cowan, and Brook Moskowy.

One could argue that the Cougars do not have very much pressure on themselves going into the season. If they end up finishing out of the playoffs, then that was apparently what was supposed to happen, but if they finish in the top four then they have done the unthinkable.

Even with the pressure seemingly removed from their shoulders, the team still has goals for the season. Proving naysayers wrong is one of them.

“Goals are process-oriented for now,” Hodges said. “Being our best everyday so we can compete for a playoff spot and work toward competing for a national championship.”

Although the path that the women’s hockey team will skate down this season could be a little rough at times, the long season gives everyone a chance to see this team in action, something that everyone should take advantage of.

“We get decent attendance,” Hodges admitted. “Women’s hockey is more skill-oriented and less physical than men’s, but it is still exciting to watch and all of the teams in our conference are very competitive.”

The Cougars opened the regular season with a home-and-home series against highway rivals, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Game 1 took place at Rutherford Rink in Saskatoon, as both the Cougars and Huskies looked to kick off the regular season in winning fashion.

Unfortunately for Cougars fans, it would be a long and quite drive home.

The Cougars simply took too long to get going as the Huskies led 1-0 after one period of play and 3-0 after two periods until they exploded offensively in the third to notch four more goals on the scoresheet. In total, the Huskies managed seven unanswered goals in night one, while Paige Wheeler was able to spoil Mackenzie Rizo’s shutout with just two minutes left in regulation.

Night two saw the game action come to the Co-operators Centre. Although the scenery may have changed, the result was ultimately the same. Night 2 was a goalie showcase that saw goose eggs on the scoreboard for both teams until the third period.

The Huskies finally cracked fifth-year goaltender Lisa Urban as Sara White and Danny Stone lit the lamp for the visitors. Two goals would be all that Saskatchewan needed, as it was handed the win. Vanessa Frederick was able to register her first shut out of the season after stopping all 16 of the Cougars shots.

The Cougars are slated to be back in action Oct. 28-29, when they take on the Manitoba Bisons (0-2-0) at The Co-operators Centre. Puck drops at 7p.m.

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