Matthew B. Pohl, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE — Despite a relatively close game on the shot clock, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns are held scoreless in their final home game of the season falling 2-0 to the Mount Royal Cougars, thanks to a successful shutout bid by Cougars netminder Zoe De Beauville on Friday.
De Beauville turned aside all 23 shots directed her way to lead her Cougars to the 2-0 win, while Lethbridge starter Jessica Lohues stopped 19 of 21 in what was her final home game as a Pronghorn.
Lohues, Brett Campbell, Jordan Doram, Delaney Duchek, Mackenzie Gall, and Jodi Gentile, were all honoured by Pronghorn Athletics for their dedication to the team and to the game of hockey. Interim head coach Perry Shockey opted to start his graduating players in the game, with Eryn Johanson starting in place for the injured Gal.
The first half of the opening period was filled with back-and-forth hockey, as both teams traded chances at either end. Both Lohues and De Beauville stood strong in their respective nets early.
Mount Royal would find the scoresheet first, as Morgan Ramsay broke up the Pronghorns neutral zone play to find Camryn Amundson breaking into the offensive zone on the near side, and she fired the puck above Lohues' glove far-side top-corner. Amundson's third goal of the season gave the Cougars their first lead of the game.
The remainder of the first period was very much the same, with both netminders keeping the puck out of their nets and the one-goal score-line intact. Mount Royal held the shots lead after 20 minutes by a 10-6 tally.
Period two would begin with a much more feverish pace, as both teams scramble for every loose puck at every opportunity to push the puck into their respective attacking zones. Both squads would struggle to get quality chances early on, as the defensive efforts would be stout at both ends of the ice.
Despite the offensive deadlock in the first half of the period, the Cougars found a way to get the puck past Lohues for a second time. Tianna Ko forced a turnover in the Pronghorns zone, and Ko would find the back of the net to put the Cougars up by two near the halfway point of the game.
Lethbridge continued to fight for their first goal of the game, crashing Mount Royal's net a number of times in an attempt to find a way past De Beauville. The Cougars starter would continue to hold he Pronghorns at bay, leading her team to a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Lethbridge's second-period efforts showed in the shot column, as they would tie them up at 15 a piece.
The home side would come out of the dressing room with a passion, as the Pronghorns kept the Cougars in their own zone for the majority of the opening five minutes of the third. Despite the pressure, Lethbridge was not able to get a clean shot off against De Beauville.
Defence continued to be the name of the game as time wound past the halfway point of the final frame. By this point, both teams allowed just three shots to reach their respective netminders, and neither team would find the scoring opportunities they needed to advance their agendas
A late power-play opportunity for the Pronghorns gave them ample opportunity to cut into the Mount Royal lead, getting a number of quality point-blank chances on De Beauville. The Cougars would stand strong to kill off the penalty and the six-player Pronghorn opportunity, and ultimately the game.
With the win, Mount Royal improves to 11-14-2 as they head into the final day of regular season competition, and the Pronghorns are forced down to a 7-16-4 record.
The back half of the home-and-home series will go tomorrow night in Calgary at the Flames Community Arena in the final regular season for both squads, puck drops at 7:00 p.m.