Cougars hold on for thrilling 4-3 win over Pandas

Cougars hold on for thrilling 4-3 win over Pandas

Regina Athletics

REGINA, Sask. - The University of Regina women's hockey team hung on for a 4-3 win over the visiting Alberta Pandas on Saturday afternoon, moving them within a point of the Pandas in the standings.

Jaycee Magwood, Meghan Sherven, Emma Waldenberger and Kylie Gavelin found the net for Regina, which improves to 10-8-3-1 with the win. Alex Poznikoff, Sasha Lutz and Ashley Morin replied for Alberta (12-7-0-2) in the loss.

After five minutes of virtually no scoring chances in the opening period, the Cougars were able to take their first lead of the weekend as Magwood snuck a backhand through the five-hole of Lindsey Post. Nikki Watters-Matthes dumped the puck in and Gavelin chased in it, harassing an Alberta defender. Gavelin was able to pry the puck loose and slip it in front where Magwood collected it and slipped a low shot past Post.

The lead didn't last long for the Cougars, as Alberta went to a powerplay almost immediately after the opening goal. Morgan Kelly put a shot on net from an awkward angle and Toni Ross made the save, but the rebound bounced right onto the stick of Poznikoff who potted it for her second goal of the weekend. Cayle Dillon also collected a helper on the play, which tied the game 1-1.

The Cougars came out flying in the second period, with Sherven (pictured) putting the Cougars up 2-1 less than a minute into the frame. Tamara McVannel had the puck in the neutral zone and sent it ahead to Brooklyn Moskowy, who put a backhanded effort towards the net. The puck was deflected by an Alberta defender, forcing Post to react with her left pad. She got a toe on the puck but the rebound sat free for Sherven who was able to tap it between the legs of Post for her fifth of the season.

Regina had a chance to expand the lead with 12:45 left in the middle frame, but Magwood's backhand effort was stopped by Post after being sent in on a breakaway by Gavelin. Gavelin had a chance of her own five minutes later, but her wrist shot from the slot rang off the crossbar.

Alberta would get a quick one in the third period, thanks to a great effort by Alison Campbell. Campbell took a pass from Tess Houston and raced down the right wing, eventually sending a puck in front to Lutz. All Lutz had to do was get a stick on the perfectly placed pass, deflecting it by Ross to even the game.

Waldenberger would put the Cougars back ahead just two minutes later, after Kylee Kupper drew an Alberta interference penalty. The Cougars powerplay went to work, and Carleen Meszaros put a puck towards the net from the point. The shot sailed wide but Caitlin Dempsey was there to collect it beside the net. Dempsey got the puck in front and it found its way through traffic onto the stick of Waldenberger who tapped it in for her 12th of the season.

Gavelin continued her hard work on the forecheck and it paid off for her, as she scored her ninth of the season at the 7:44 mark of the third. Gavelin chased an Alberta defender back towards the Pandas zone and got tangled up behind the net. The defender lost her footing and Gavelin scooped up the puck, banging it past an unsuspecting Post.

Alberta spent the last three minutes of the game with a man advantage, including two minutes of 6-on-4 as Dempsey was whistled for tripping and Post was called to the bench. Morin would draw the Pandas within a goal with 15 seconds to play, but it was too little too late and the Cougars hung on for the 4-3 win.

Ross made 23 saves for her 13th win of the season, while Post stopped 20 shots at the other end of the ice.

The Cougars are at home again next weekend, as they host Mount Royal University for a two-game set.