Cougars fall in triple-overtime

Photograph by GetMyPhoto.ca
Photograph by GetMyPhoto.ca

 SASKATOON – It took 119 minutes and 49.3 seconds of action but in the end the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's hockey team were able to pull out a thrilling 2-1 triple-overtime victory over the Mount Royal Cougars to book their ticket to the Canada West semifinals.
 
Scoring the decisive in goal in Game 3 inside Merlis Belsher Place was one of the least likely figures, as Rachel Lundberg potted her first of the season to advance the Huskies and end the Cougars' season in heartbreak.
 
With the third overtime frame winding down, Shyan Elias picked the pocket of a Mount Royal defender and fed it into the path of Lundberg who one-timed the puck past a helpless Zoe De Beauville in the Cougars' net.
 
With the win, Saskatchewan will now get set to travel to Edmonton where they will face the No. 1 seed Pandas in a best-of-three semifinal series.
 
Bailee Bourassa scored the other goal for Saskatchewan while Tatum Amy had the lone marker for Mount Royal.
 
Zoe De Beauville was outstanding in the losing cause, stopping 58 of the 60 shots fired her way. Jessica Vance got the win in net for Saskatchewan, making 24 saves on the night.
 
The first goal of the game came under two minutes into the second period after some sustained pressure from Saskatchewan.
 
Emily Upgang and Brooklyn Haubrich combined to force a turnover behind the Cougars' net and Bourassa made no mistake when the puck came out to her in the slot, making the score 1-0 for Saskatchewan.
 
That tally stood up until deep into the third period.
 
A desperate Mount Royal team played their best hockey of the night in the frame and found the equalizer they were searching for with just under three minutes to play in regulation.
 
Right as a Cougars' powerplay expired, Amy unleashed a powerful wrister from the point the made its way through a crowd in front and past Vance.
 
With regulation solving nothing, the teams headed to overtime.
 
Both teams came out of the gates looking to end the game early, as end-to-end action saw the two exchanging chances early.
 
A great individual effort from Elizabeth Salyn resulted in the best chance of the frame after her pass gave Abby Shirley a look from in close but she was denied by the right pad of De Beauville, who extended the game to another period with that stop.
 
Towards the end of double-overtime, Mount Royal had their best chance to score outside of regulation when Tori Williams wound her way through the Huskies defence but Vance was able to get a pad on the effort.
 
The teams exchanged chances throughout the final frame but in the end, it was Lundberg and the Huskies that were destined for the victory.
 
Next week will mark the third year in a row that the Huskies have advanced to the semifinal stage of the Canada West playoffs and that series in Edmonton will get underway Friday, Feb. 22 at 3:00 p.m.