Cougars battle back for overtime win

Cougars battle back for overtime win

Regina Athletics

REGINA, Sask. - The University of Regina women's hockey team fought from behind to earn a 3-2 overtime win over the visiting Mount Royal University Cougars at The Co-operators Centre on Friday night.


Tessa Wilson and Kylee Kupper scored in regulation for the hometown Cougars, before Alexis Larson potted the game winner just over a minute into overtime. Sarah Weninger and Talia Terry scored for Mount Royal.


Mount Royal had a great chance early after Toni Ross came out to play a puck behind her net but it took a funny bounce off the end boards. The puck sat free in front of the net and a wild scramble ensued, but none of the MRU attackers could get a stick on it.


After several minutes of scrambling from both teams, Mount Royal settled in and took advantage of a Nikki Watters-Matthes interference penalty when Weninger scored her eighth of the season. The shot hit a body in front and knuckled past Ross, who had multiple players in front acting as screens. Shawni Rodeback and Channia Alexander assisted on the marker.


Regina had a solid opportunity to even things up late in the period after Jessica Ross stopped a Kylie Gavelin shot, but Stephanie Sawchuk was tied up by a defender before she could deposit the puck into the open cage.


The second frame began with a similar feel to the first; both teams going aggressively to the attack but neither able to sustain any pressure or put together quality scoring chances.


The seal was broken towards the end of the period, as Wilson scored her second of the season after a some hard work in the Mount Royal end. Wilson sent the puck in front of the net after fighting off two MRU defenders in the corner. Tamara McVannel stepped into a one-timer from near the point and Ross made the save. The puck bounced off the goaltender and hit Wilson beside the net, deflecting into the net to draw the Cougars even. Chelsea Perepeluk also assisted on Wilson's goal.


The tie only lasted one minute and 19 seconds, as Terry was able to capitalize off a Cougars turnover deep in their zone and wire a wrist shot past the glove of Toni Ross. Terry's third of the year was assisted by Jordan Finnie and restored the MRU lead. Regina would even it up again just over two minutes after Terry's marker, as Kupper operated in the MRU end with some slick puck handling. Kupper worked a give-and-go with Carleen Meszaros before looping around towards the point and into the high slot. Her high wrist shot beat a screened Jessica Ross, who didn't see the puck until it was past her.


The third period featured furious action from both teams, and five powerplay opportunities between the two. Regina was putting pucks on net at every opportunity, hoping to get traffic in front and sneak another past Ross. Both Ross's were able to make saves when called upon, and the third frame passed with no score.


MRU started the overtime penalty with 12 seconds of powerplay opportunity after Kupper was flagged for hooking near the end of regulation. The visitors couldn't get any shots on net, and Regina quickly turned the tables. McVannel showed again how comfortable she is with the puck on her stick, navigating the MRU end before sending a pass to Larson. Larson found Gavelin who tried a wrap around from behind the net but was stopped by Ross. Larson scooped up the rebound and circled back towards the point, but she stopped and rifled a shot short side to give the Cougars their first lead of the game and the win.


Toni Ross made 22 saves for her CIS-leading 14th win of the season. Jessica Ross stopped 26 shots in the loss.


"We'll have to clean up some of our bad habits and mistakes that we made tonight," head coach Sarah Hodges said. "We turned it up when we were down a goal but we have to play a full game with that effort to put ourselves in a spot to be successful."


The Cougars and Cougars will square off on Saturday at 3 p.m. at The Co-operators Centre.