Lethbridge – Plagued by penalty trouble in the third period, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns dropped a close 3-2 decision to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Friday night, at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
Lethbridge goals were scored by Delaney Duchek and Chelsea Minor. Paige Anakaer, Kandace Cook, and Marley Ervine each net individual markers for the Huskies.
In net for the Huskies was Cassidy Hendricks, who faced a total of 49 shots on the night, while Crystal Patterson turned aside 32 of the 35 she faced, at the other end, for the Pronghorns.
Duchek got the game's first goal less than a minute into the opening period, with help from Chelsea Minor. With a strong presence in front of the net, the first-year forward got control of the loose puck and quickly lifted it in, overtop of Hendricks' blocker-side shoulder.
Saskatchewan answered right back. Into the zone with lots of pressure, Lethbridge's Patterson stopped the first shot but Anakaer grabbed the rebound and promptly put one top shelf, to knot things back up at ones.
Minor and Duchek combined for another goal, at 12:03, which quickly re-established the lead for the Pronghorns.
With less than forty seconds remaining on the clock, Kaitlin Willoughby was called for cross-checking, which meant Lethbridge would start the second period on the power play.
After posting 16 shots in the opening frame, the 'Horns were unable to convert with the early extra attacker and seemed to struggle to find shooting lanes throughout the second.
Midway through the period, the 'Horns were given another opportunity on the power play and Kirsten Reeves, Jocelyn Sabourin, Sarah Spence, and Jodi Gentile each had great scoring chances but Hendricks stood tall and turned aside the barrage of shots from the Horns.
Huskies had a late offensive surge as time expired in the second, keeping much of the play in 'Horns territory. Brooke Patron and Alyssa Dobler each unloaded hard blasts from just inside the blue line, turned aside by a confident Patterson, and Kaitlin Willoughby went to the net with speed but her effort was also denied by the keeper.
It was a penalty-packed third period. Willoughby was called for tripping at 1:52 and almost as soon as her penalty expired, the 'Horns Duchek was called for goaltender interference. Cook made the most of her team's extra attacker, redirecting Hanna McGillivray's hard shot from the top of the circle, beating an unsuspecting Patterson low glove-side.
With Lethbridge's Sarah Spence serving time for cross-checking, Patterson faced relentless pressure in front of the net and Ervine added her second of the night at 8:24, this time from Kandace Cook, which gave her team their first lead of the game.
Despite a strong push in the dying minutes of play, the 'Horns were unable to net the much needed equalizing goal.
With this win, the Huskies improve to 13-9-3, while the Horns fall to 4-21-0. Game two of the weekend series between these two teams is scheduled for tomorrow night, at Nicholas Sheran Arena.