Calgary – The Mount Royal Cougars won their first game on Saddledome ice defeating the Calgary Dinos 3-2 on Thursday night. Cougars' goaltender Jess Ross was the best player on the ice, stopping 29 of 31 shots to preserve the victory.
The Dinos had an early scoring chance off the opening faceoff but Jess Ross was able to just get a piece of the shot and knock it into the corner. The Cougars survived two penalties before Danielle Klein opened the scoring at the 14:32 minute mark. Klein circled the net and unleashed a low, hard backhand. The puck hit goaltender Carissa Fischer's blocker and rolled up and over her head into the back of the net. Klein's was the lone goal of the first period and the Cougars led 1-0 after one period of play.
Just 1:31 into the second, the Cougars added to their lead. Rachel Piitz did some nice board work in the corner and centered it to fifth year veteran Taralynn Suzuki. In one fluid motion, Suzuki received the pass and fired it into the top corner, giving Mount Royal a two-goal lead.
The Dinos got the goal right back on the power play. With Jocelyn Froehlich in the box for hooking, Alexandra Vafina got a stick on the point shot from Iya Gavrilova. The puck re-directed and just trickled by Ross, closing the gap to 2-1.
The Cougars restored the two-goal lead on the power play when rookie Delaney Edwards set a beautiful screen on a point shot from Devonie Deschamps. The shot dove through the legs of Fischer and in. After two periods of play, the Cougars held a 3-1 lead.
Mount Royal laid it all on the line in the third period. Janessa Jenkins blocked three shots in a row during one sequence, and then won a puck battle in the corner hobbling around on one leg.
The Dinos were eventually able to break through when Janelle Parent scored her eighth of the season. Stephanie Zvonkovic came in and took a shot that handcuffed Ross. Parent swooped in, grabbed the puck and roofed the backhand to put the Dinos within one.
That was as close as Calgary would come get. Jess Ross was superb making 29 saves and was named the games first star.
The Cougars snapped their four game losing streak and improve to 2-1-14-3 on the season.
Calgary falls to 10-2-3-4 with the loss but remain atop the Canada West standings with 36 points.
The Cougars will try for the weekend sweep, as the two teams will go again tomorrow night. Puck drop between the Dinos and Cougars is set for 7:00pm at Father David Bauer Arena.