Anthony Simone, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars were shut out for the second night in a row as they fell to the Saskatchewan Huskies 3-0 Saturday at Flames Community Arenas in the final game of the regular season.
The Cougars honoured their senior players Reanna Arnold, Jordan Finnie, Erin McLean, Assistant Captain Rachel Piitz, and Captain Devonie Deschamps pre-game, celebrating their amazing accomplishments with the Cougar organization, in what would be their final game at Flames Community Arena.
MRU came out in the first period with high energy following the celebration but were unable to convert that energy into points.
Jessica Vance stopped all 6 Cougar shots in the period after coming off a strong shutout performance in last nights 1-0 win over the Cougars.
The best opportunity for the Cougars came at the mid-way point of the period when Tatum Amy and Tianna Ko were sprung on a fast break 2 on 1, playing tic-tac-toe but the play was broken up at the last second by a Huskies defender.
Back up goaltender Emily Severson would get the nod in net for the Cougars and she was tested early.
The Huskies were able to control the puck in MRU's zone for the first half of the period and were able to capitalize at 9:13 when Kennedy Harris grabbed the loose puck in front of the net and slid one past Severson giving Saskatchewan a 1-0 lead going into the intermission.
MRU saw its best chance to tie the score 4 minutes into the second period. Anna Purschke got behind the defence and was sprung all alone on a breakaway. Purschke shoulder faked to the blocker side, then ripped a shot right into the glove hand of Vance.
Severson was impressive in the period stopping a flurry of opportunities for the Huskies, including a breakaway by Bailee Bourassa which was set up by a beautiful feed from the fifth year forward Kennedy Harris.
Another low scoring affair for the Cougars would go into the final period with the Huskies up 1-0.
The Cougars came painfully close to tying the game midway through the third. Rachel Piitz dug deep for the puck in the corner of the Huskies zone, then found Tianna Ko all alone in the slot. Ko would rip a wrist shot beating Vance, but not the crossbar. The crowd gasped in frustration as the home team was inches away from notting the game up.
Saskatchewan would then put the game on ice 13:24 into the period when Kori Herner stole the puck at the blue line, streaked in on goal, and roofed her shot top corner past Severson.
A late empty-net goal by Brooklyn Harris was the exclamation point on an impressive night for the Huskies.
The 3-0 loss would be the Cougars fourth loss in a row to end the regular season. Despite the losing streak, the Cougars end the regular season (10-17-3-1) good enough for the sixth and final playoff spot. For Saskatchewan, the win propelled them to (18-7-2-1).
The Cougars will now take on the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver in the quarter-finals.