Kupper and Gavelin power Cougars past Huskies

Kupper and Gavelin power Cougars past Huskies

Kylie Gavelin and Kylee Kupper filled up the scoresheet on Friday night as the University of Regina women's hockey team outlasted the Saskatchewan Huskies with a 5-4 shootout win.

 

Gavelin scored twice and added an assist, while Kupper (pictured) notched three assists and the shootout winner. Stephanie Sawchuk and Carleen Meszaros also scored for the Cougars.

Kandace Cook put on quite a show for the Huskies, scoring three of the goals for the visitors. Kaitlin Willoughby added the fourth.

 

Toni Ross made 17 saves for Regina while Cassidy Hendricks stopped 39 shots in the loss.

 

The Cougars struck first, finding the back of the net on an early powerplay in the first period. Sawchuk dug the puck out from a scrum along the boards and back to Nikki Watters-Matthes at the point. Watters-Matthes cycled the puck to Meszaros who fired a wrist shot on net. The puck got through some traffic in front and beat a screened Hendricks through the five hole, putting the Cougars up 1-0 just over five minutes in.

 

Regina would add to its lead five minutes later, when the Huskies were on the powerplay. Regina's aggressive penalty kill paid off, as Kupper poked the puck away from a Huskies defender and raced after it. She corralled the puck just inside the Huskies zone and fed a pass in front to a streaking Gavelin, who one-timed it past Hendricks for the short-handed marker.

 

The Huskies would get on the board before the end of the opening frame, courtesy of a deflection by Cook. Willoughby put a shot towards the net from the left side and Cook got a piece of it, deflecting off the cross bar and in over the shoulder of Ross. Brooke Mutch also earned an assist on Cook's 11th of the season.

 

The same combination that was responsible for the Huskies first goal would tie things up 2-2 in the second period with a powerplay marker. Mutch put a shot towards the net and Willoughby deflected it off the side of the net. Willoughby collected her own miss, circled around the net and set up Cook who blasted a one-timer that beat Ross on the glove side.

 

Cook completed her hat trick with another powerplay goal midway through the second frame. The goal came off a low shot from a terrible angle, that ricocheted off the pad of Ross and in. Mutch notched her third assist of the night on the play, and Marley Ervine was also credited with a helper.

 

The Cougars thought that they had tied the game early in the third period, but the officials ruled no goal, claiming that Hendricks was pushed into her net. Bailey Braden and Kelly Regnier had crashed hard towards the net, but Hendricks made the initial save. After a moment of pushing, the goal light came on but there was no signal from the referee. The officials would discuss the play and eventually rule no goal.

 

Regina would find the equalizer, and it came off the stick of Sawchuk with 4:24 to play in the third. Kupper ended up with the puck on her stick after some hard fore-checking by the Cougars, and she came around the net before centring it to Sawchuk. Sawchuk one-timed the puck over the glove of Hendricks before the Saskatchewan net-minder could react.

 

Gavelin would score again with 1:39 left in the third to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead. Gavelin's second of the night and 13th of the season came on an impressive individual effort where she lowered her shoulder and cut to the net, slipping the puck through the five hole of Hendricks to put the Cougars back on top. Kupper registered another assist on the marker.

 

Saskatchewan pulled Hendricks with just under a minute left in hopes of earning the tie, and it looked like Gavelin would get her hat trick on an empty netter. Gavelin's shot from centre ice was on line but it hit the shin pad of Tori Head. The puck rebounded back to Triston Riemer who had a go at the net from inside her own blue line. Riemer's attempt slid just wide of the Huskies net and the Cougars were whistled for icing with 3.5 seconds left.

 

Cook stepped in to take the draw following a Regina timeout, and immediately won it back. Willoughby stepped into a one-timer and rifled a shot over the shoulder of Ross, tying the game with 1.4 seconds left and stunning the Cougars.

 

Overtime and double overtime produced multiple chance for both teams, the best of which was a Sawchuk breakaway attempt, but Hendricks made a great pad save. The Cougars killed off two penalties in the extra sessions.

 

Hendricks and Ross were the stars of the shootout, making multiple saves to keep their respective teams alive. Neither team could solve the opposing goalie until Kupper stepped in as the 14th shooter. Kupper took a low wrist shot that beat Hendricks blocker side and sealed the win for the Cougars.

 

The two teams will jostle for playoff position again on Saturday night in Saskatoon.