Cougars victorious in crucial late season match
Brendan Stasiewich, Mount Royal Cougars Sports Information
CALGARY, AB- On Friday evening at the Flames Community Arenas the Mount Royal Cougars (8-12-3-2) took down the Lethbridge Longhorns (9-12-2-2) by a score of 3-1 in a crucial late season match.
Sarah Weninger was the hero for Mount Royal scoring twice, while Jenae Culp scored the Pronghorns goal. Rachel Piitz was also a game changer for the Cougars, registering an assist on Weninger's game winning goal. Carley Bertram also added an empty netter for Mount Royal.
With only three games remaining after tonight, the win moves the Cougars within one point of Lethbridge for the final playoff spot in the Canada West conference.
The Pronghorns opened the scoring with three minutes remaining in the first period. With a Cougars' defender pinching at the red line the puck got chipped up to Pronghorns defenseman Chelsea Kasprick. Kasprick came in on a two on one and sent a beautiful saucer pass to Jenae Culp who buried her sixth of the year past Jess Ross.
The first period went by with minimal scoring chances as the Pronghorns registered four shots compared to the Cougars' one.
It didn't take long into the second period for the Cougars to find their scoring touch. After a horrendous giveaway by the Pronghorns in their own zone the Cougars' leading scorer Sarah Weninger took the puck in alone on a breakaway. Putting a nifty deke on goalie Alicia Anderson, Weninger was able to slide the puck into the net for her 10th of the year.
The Cougars had two great chances to take hold of the lead with 12 minutes left in the period. Taking a cross crease pass, Rachel Piitz had a sure goal taken away when Anderson slid across the net to deny the Cougars' forward with the glove. Seconds later Elisha Cunningham came streaking in on a breakaway but Anderson again stayed strong making a pad save.
With just under five minutes remaining in the game the Pronghorns took a crucial penalty in the offensive zone. On the ensuing power play Sarah Weninger did a great job making a stick lift, taking the puck away from a Pronghorns' player. Once she had control of the puck, Weninger sent pass to Rachel Piitz in front of the net. Piitz, who appeared to be the strongest skater for the Cougars on the evening, completed a nice give and go feeding the puck right back to Weninger for her to bury her second of the game.
Carley Bertram added an empty netter with eight seconds left in the contest to give the Cougars a 3-1 win.
The Weninger marker, which due to the circumstances of the game was one of her most important of the year, was the game winner for the Cougars who came away victorious for the third time against Lethbridge this year.
With the win Jess Ross improves her record to 5-8-1 while the loss drops Alicia Anderson to 11-10-1 on the year.
The two teams will play another equally important game tomorrow night at Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge. The game, which has major playoff implications, is slated for a 7 P.M. puck drop.
Photo credit: Adrian Shellard