REGINA, Sask. - The University of Regina women's hockey team opened up its best-of-three quarterfinal series against Calgary with a win, defeating the visiting Dinos 4-1 on Friday night.
The Cougars outshot the Dinos 45-14 on the night, with Chelsea Perepeluk, Caitlin Dempsey, Kylie Gavelin and Jaycee Magwood beating Hayley Dowling for goals.
Bronwyn Stevens scored the lone goal for Calgary.
The Cougars attack was relentless in the first two periods, outshooting the Dinos 37-6 through the middle frame. Dowling was flawless in net until late in the second when Perepeluk (pictured) scored the second goal of her Canada West career.
Perepeluk scored a goal on Oct. 2, the first game of the regular season, but had been unable to find the net again until Friday night when she was in the right spot to knock in a rebound. The goal broke a scoreless tie late in the second and came after Meghan Sherven put a shot on net from the slot. Dowling kicked it aside but the puck ended up right on the tape of the Regina rookie who banged it home. Carleen Meszaros also assisted on the marker, just 32 seconds before the end of the period.
"We thought we could capitalize on rebounds so part of the gameplan was to put low shots towards the net and hope we were in position," head coach Sarah Hodges said following Friday's win. "Shooting was very tight around the net but once we got that first one we loosened up."
The Cougars took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission but it was the Dinos that came out firing in the third. Sasha Vafina took a feed up the right wing from Megan Grenon and found Stevens with a nice backdoor pass. Stevens ripped a wrist shot short side over the shoulder of Toni Ross to even the score at a goal apiece.
Just as it seemed the Dinos had gained some momentum, the Cougars struck back 10 seconds later. Brooklyn Moskowy won the ensuing faceoff back to Tamara McVannel who sent a pass up the right side to Dempsey. The third-year forward faked outside and made a move to the middle of the ice, getting an angle and launching a wrist shot almost identical to Stevens' just seconds before.
"I was impressed with the way we bounced back after their goal," Hodges noted. "We stuck to our plan and the girls executed. Hopefully we'll see the same thing tomorrow night."
Dempsey's goal gave the Cougars the lead for good, as Gavelin and Magwood would each find the net with powerplay goals to balloon the margin to 4-1.
Gavelin's goal came at the 7:18 mark of the final frame after Magwood worked the puck out of the corner in the Dinos end. Kylee Kupper picked it up and sent a pass right across the crease to Gavelin who was all alone to pot her first of the postseason.
Magwood added to the lead just over a minute and a half later, taking a pass from McVannel and cutting towards the net from the left circle. Magwood was tied up with a Dino defender and tried to make a backhand pass in front but the puck deflected off a Calgary skate and under the pad of Dowling.
The Cougars stifled any further attempts the Dinos had in the third period, limiting them to 14 shots on the night. Ross was solid when tested, making 13 saves for the win. Dowling stopped 41 shots at the other end of the ice.
Saturday night will feature Game 2 of the quarterfinal series, as the Cougars will go for the sweep at 7 p.m. at The Co-operators Centre.