Anthony Simone, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars fell at the hands of the Saskatchewan Huskies in dramatic fashion 1-0 Friday night at Flames Community Arenas.
After coming off 2 tough losses last week in Vancouver, the Cougars looked to bounce back and secure a playoff spot with a win.
The Huskies thoroughly controlled the first period, dominating puck control and going to the power play 3 times.
Cougars netminder Zoe De Beauville was impressive in the period shutting down all 12 shots she faced, keeping the Cougars in the game. 6 of De Beauville's 8wins this season have come on a shutout performance.
MRU saw a great opportunity to get on the board late in the period, as second-year forward Nicolette Seper delivered a beautiful saucer pass to the speedy Tianna Ko who was streaking down the slot, only to have her backhand attempt denied by Huskies goalie Jessica Vance.
Despite being outshot 12-4 the Cougars were able to go into the first intermission tied at zero.
The Cougars started the second frame on the power play and their best chance of the period came within the first minute. Tianna Ko once again found herself with a brilliant opportunity to put the Cougars out in front. On a mad scramble in the crease Ko's backhand was stopped by a sprawling Vance, keeping the puck out of the net and the score tied.
After MRU's Tatum Amy went to the penalty box for tripping at 3:56, Saskatchewan looked to capitalize. Huskies captain Kaitlin Willoughby fired a clapper from the red line which bounced off De Beauville and on to the stick of Chelsea Broadhead who looked to jam home the rebound, but the Cougars goalie stood strong turning aside the Huskies aggressive power play unit.
The defensive battle would go into the final frame still gridlocked at zero.
A holding call on MRU's Kate Hufnagle 9:37 into the third would prove to be costly for the Cougars. Huskies fifth-year defenceman Kira Bannatyne would take the air out of the arena as she drove down the side boards and cut in front of the net, sliding the puck through the five-hole of De Beauville, putting the away team up 1-0.
The Cougars would battle until the final seconds. De Beauville was pulled with a little over a minute left in a last ditch effort to send the game to overtime. MRU would control the puck in Huskies territory for the entire minute keeping fans on the edge of their seats. In the dying seconds Cougars defenceman Channia Alexander fired a slapshot from the blue line. Vance would get her body in front of the shot, but fifth-year forward Rachel Piitz was right there to receive the rebound. With two cracks at it, Piitz was unable to find the back of the net. The horn blew as Zance turned aside Piitz final attempt and the Huskies would take this one, 1-0.
The Cougars will have another opportunity to secure a spot in the playoffs as they take on the Huskies tomorrow night at Flames Community Arenas in the final game of the regular season. Puck drops at 6 P.M. and can be live streamed at canadawest.tv.