Anthony Simone, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars put together their most dominant performance of the season, as they beat the University of Alberta Pandas Saturday night at Flames Community Arenas in the final game of 2017.
The Cougars came out of the gate inspired to avenge their 3-1 loss last night in Edmonton.
Each team went to the power play in the first half of the period but were unable to capitalize on the early opportunity.
Good fortune was on MRU's side shortly after the penalty kill, as Cougars 3rd year forward Kennedy Bozek's centring pass deflected off Panda's defenceman Lindsay Weech's shin and into the net, fooling goaltender Kirsten Chamberlin, and giving the Cougars the early 1-0 lead 8:06 into the period.
Alberta's attack was relentless at times in the opening frame, but Cougars netminder Zoe De Beauville was outstanding, stopping all 12 Pandas shots taking MRU into the first intermission with the 1 goal lead.
De Beauville was once again spectacular in the 2nd period, shutting down the Panda's fierce attack that went on the power play twice in the first 7 minutes of the period.
A scary moment came mid-way through the period when Pandas 4th year forward Amy Boucher blasted a close-range slap shot off the mask of De Beauville, putting the Cougars goaltender down on the ice for several minutes, but luckily was able to shake it off and stay in the game.
MRU was finally able to create some offence 12:13 into the period on the power play after Panda's defenceman Cayle Dillon went to the box for goaltender interference. Tatum Amy tapped in her 2nd goal of the season on the rebound past Chamberlin as she was unable to handle Anna Purschke's blast from the slot, putting the Cougars up 2-0.
Despite being outplayed for most of the period, the Cougars were able to slow down Alberta's high powered attack late and took the 2 goal lead into the final period.
The Cougars came out on fire in the 3rd period looking to put this one away early.
A holding penalty to Panda's Abby Krzyzaniak 2:52 into the period put MRU on the power play and they took full advantage. 5th year forward Rachel Piitz was able to pot home her 2nd goal of the season during a mad scramble in front of the Pandas net, making it 3-0 Cougars early into the final frame and they didn't look back.
Kennedy Bozek put the cherry on top of an impressive night for the Cougars as she scored her second goal of the evening on a shorthanded empty netter with 5:55 remaining in the period.
The crowd at Flames Community Arenas erupted as the horn sounded, as they celebrated the Cougars most impressive win of the season as they defeated the second-ranked Alberta Pandas picking up their 5th win of the season, heading into the New Year on a high note.
MRU's netminder Zoe De Beauville was the big story of the night, stopping all 34 Panda's shots and recording her 2nd shutout of the season, earning her first star honours.
"It was huge to come out here and show these guys what we're made of." Said De Bauville.
"I got a lot of help from my teammate tonight, it felt great. We ended the first half of the season on a great note, now we have to carry that over going into the second half."
The Cougars play their next game Friday, January 5th against the University of Regina at Flames Community Arenas.