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After suffering two tough losses at the hands of Hayley Wickenheiser and the University of Calgary Dinos on Jan. 11-12, the University of Regina Cougars looked to redeem themselves last weekend against the Canada West newcomers, the Mount Royal University Cougars.
“We were more ready to play this weekend because of what happened last weekend,” said fourth-year forward Kendra Finch. “But we sat back on our heels in our second game. Just because they’re in last place doesn’t mean they’re not going to fight hard.”
The Cougars came out firing on all cylinders Friday night. After fighting off two penalties, the girls got a bounce that went their way half way through the first.
The puck was sitting on the goal line when fifth-year forward Gina Campbell took the opportunity to poke the puck in for the first goal of the night.
The Cougars luck continued in the first as Mount Royal took a penalty just a few seconds after Campbell’s marker.
Twenty seconds into the penalty, fifth-year forward Rianne Wight was able to capitalize on the power play opportunity and gave Regina a two-goal lead. However, the end of the first period wasn’t as promising as it had originally seemed.
The Cougars took a penalty with just under three minutes left in the period and Mount Royal was able to make them pay, getting the puck passed second-year goaltender Jennifer Schmidt to get on the score board.
And if that wasn’t punishment enough, Regina took another penalty with a minute and a half left in the first. Mount Royal was on a roll as they got another goal on the power play with just two seconds left in the first, tying the score at two a piece going into the first intermission.
In the second period, the girls were able to redeem themselves as they took control of the period early. Finch scored the first goal of the period to get the girls up by one.
With less than five minutes left in the second, the Cougars were able to get another goal. This time it was Sawchuk who registered another point on the night to put Regina up 4-2 over the visitors at the break.
Regina was able to keep the tempo up in the third period. Fifth-year scoring sensations Wight and Paige Wheeler connected for a two on one chance.
Wight passed to Wheeler and with quick hands Wheeler was able to get past the goalie to find the back of the net, increasing their lead by three.
Three minutes later, Mount Royal was able to get one more goal past Schmidt to make it five to three, but that was as close as the visitors would get as the Cougars were awarded with their 14th win of the season.
“We were more ready to play this weekend because of what happened last weekend, but we sat back on our heels in our second game. Just because [Mount Royal] in last place doesn’t mean they’re not going to fight hard.” – Kendra Finch
“[Friday night] we had a lot of bounces on our side and we were capitalizing,” said second-year goaltender Toni Ross. “[Saturday,] the bounces weren’t quite there so we had a rougher time.”
After their convincing win on Friday night, there were high hopes for Saturday night’s game, but the Cougars did not start off the way they finished Friday.
Three and a half minutes into the first period, Mount Royal was able to get the first goal past Ross to give them a quick lead, which they would hold for the remainder of the first.
In the second period, Regina got two chances to even up the score as Mount Royal took two penalties, giving the Cougars a five-on-three advantage for twenty seconds.
However, the Cougars were unable to capitalize on the power play, but maintained the momentum they gained from the advantage. Seconds after the penalties expired, first-year forward Kylie Gavelin was able to slide the puck across to Wight for a goal to make the game one all.
The Cougars kept up the pressure in the second, but the bounces weren’t going their way. This was especially true when assistant coach Brandy West-McMaster took a puck in the face while standing on the bench midway through the frame. But with an ice pack on her cheek she stayed in the game and kept the girls motivated.
After a scoreless third period, the game was headed to overtime. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they took a penalty with just two seconds left in regulation, meaning that they would start the extra period on the wrong side of a four three advantage.
Mount Royal came ready to play in overtime and with a turnover Regina’s own end, Mount Royal found the back mesh in less than a minute.
Saturday night’s game was not in the favour of the Cougars. With forty-one shots on net for Regina, they out shot Mount Royal by 13.
After registering the weekend split, Regina is currently sitting in third place in the Canada West standings with a 14-7-1 record.
The Cougars look to get their momentum back this weekend in a home-and-home series against the University of Saskatchewan (8-10-4).
Photo courtesy of Donald Wang/The Ubyssey