Cougars fall to Bisons in defensive battle

Photo: Adrian Shellard
Photo: Adrian Shellard

Anthony Simone, Cougar Athletics 

CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars and the Manitoba Bisons battled each other in game 2 of their weekend series Saturday afternoon at Flames Community Arenas. 
 
The Bisons were able to outlast the Cougars, grinding out a 1-0 victory in the weekend sweep.
 
The energy has apparent early, as both teams came out flying early in the first period.
 
Manitoba's fourth year forward Lauryn Keen saw a great chance to strike first for the Bison when she found herself wide-open at the side of the net, but Cougars goaltender Zoe De Beauville made an outstanding post to post save, keeping the score at zeros. 
 
Mount Royal created little scoring opportunities in the first. 
 
Their best chance came when they were sprung on a 2 on 1, however Bison's forward Charity Price made a great defensive play, poking the puck away from Rachel Pitz before she could make anything happen. 
 
Just as it looked as though the game would be heading into the intermission a scoreless tie, the Bisons found the back of the net as Venia Hovi blasted home a slap shot off the post on the power play, giving Manitoba the 1-0 lead going into the first intermission. 
 
Hovi was apart of Finland's bronze medal winning team at the 2010 Olympic Games. 
 
The second period started with the Cougars on the 2-man advantage. Despite great pressure from MRU, Bison's goalie Lauren Taraschuk turned away scoring chances by both Reanna Arnold and Mairi Sorensen
 
Taraschuk ranks 7th in the Canada West with a .918 save percent average.
 
Both goaltender were impressive in the second ,turning away all shots they faced.
 
The defence was equally impressive making plays and blocking shots. Most notably when MRU's Megan Carver put her body on the line blocking Manitoba's hard slap shot from close range. 
 
Mount Royal outshot the Bisons 9-7 in the period, but still faced a 1 goal deficit going into the final period. 
 
The defensive battle continued in the 3rd period. 
 
Each team took to the power play early on but were unable to get on the score board.
 
Mid-way through the period MRU controlled the puck in the Bison's zone, but once again Taraschuk stood tall.
 
The last chance came for the Cougars with the goalie pulled in the final minute of the game. MRU fired a flurry of shot towards the net, but were unable to send the game to overtime, falling to the Bisons 1-0.
 
Lauren Taraschuk earned first star honers in her impressive shutout performance.
 
"The last few weekends have been draining for us, so it's huge to get 6 points and finish the weekend on a high note," said Taraschuk.
 
"We were able to play as a team and do the little things right."
 
With the win the Bison swept the weekend series and improved to a 5-3 record, while the Cougars fall to 1-6-1-0 and still in search of their first home win.
 
The Cougars take on the Dinos next Thursday in an all Calgary matchup at 7 P.M. and can be streamed live at Canadawest.tv.