Jordan Magnuson, Mount Royal Sports Information
CALGARY - It took multiple breakaways, shots off the posts and even double overtime before the Mount Royal Cougars were finally able to pull ahead of the Lethbridge Pronghorns Saturday night.
It didn't take long for the scoring chances to commence at the Flames Community Arena. Pronghorns forward Chelsea Kasprick recieved a pass alone in the Cougar slot seconds into the game. Kasprick launced a one timer that clipped Mount Royal goaltender Emma Pincott's right pad for her first save of the game.
Mount Royal looked to tilt play in their favor only minutes later. With only 2:39 played in the first, Cougars forward Sarah Weninger unloaded a wrister two feet outside the Pronghorns blue line. The shot handcuffed Lethbridge goaltender Jessica Lohues on her high blocker side and found the back of the net.
Lethbridge would swing momentum in their favor for the remainder of the period. The Pronghorns launched twelve shots towards Pincott, however none of these would register a goal. The first period ended with a Lethbridge penalty and a 1-0 Mount Royal lead.
The second period was focused on special teams, with both squads taking multiple penalties. The Pronghorns best powerplay chance came when forward Aislinn Kooistra snapped a shot high blocker on Pincott. The puck beat the Cougars netminder, however the crossbar had other plans. The sound of iron echoed the arena and Lethbridge continued to trail.
The Cougars would try and counter on a powerplay of their own. A stretch pass that travelled the length of the rink found it's way to Weninger. Weninger opted to pass to teammate Tianna Ko on the ensuing two-on-one. Ko kicked the puck to her stick and tried going five hole on Lohues. Lohues dropped in the butterfly to keep it a one goal game.
The save was massive for Lethbridge, as the Pronghorns looked to tie the game up. The puck would find it's way through a scramble in front of the Cougars net and onto Pronghorn forward Brett Campbell. Campbell slid the puck passed a sprawled out Pincott with 4:52 left in the second to tie the game at one. The score would remain that way at the end of the period.
The arena would be treated to another sound of the puck smashing against the post in the third. With the shots on goal tied, Cougars forward Talia Terry cradled the puck down the left side boards. Terry looked to go low blocker, however the goalie's best friend struck again.
Terry was determined to find twine. With 9:18 left in the third, Terry would force a turnover at the Lethbridge blue line. She would burst in on the right wing and rip a quick snap shot that would beat both Lohues (and the post) to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
The lead would be short lived however. With 4:38 left in the third, Pronghorns forward Delaney Duchek found a loose puck in front of the net and buried the tying goal. With the shots and the game both dead even, the game was destined for overtime.
The best chance in the 4-on-4 overtime came off a Cougars stick. Mount Royal defenceman Channia Alexander made a nice toe drag on a two-on-two. The following shot smacked the pad of Lohues. The rebound bounced to teammate Rachel Piitz who seemed to have an open net. Multiple Cougars sticks were raised in celebration and the home crowd cheered; however the referees determined Lohues somehow reached back to glove the puck before it crossed the line. The game was off to the second overtime.
With just over a minute played in the 3-on-3 overtime, Cougars forward Reanna Arnold stole the show. In what may be one of the goals of the year, Arnold fought off a Pronghorn defender and made an incredible backhand to forehand to backhand move. Arnold would slip the puck into the open net 1:08 into the overtime to give the Cougars the win.
With the win, the Cougars move to 6-10-1-2. The Pronghorns fall to 3-12-1-3.
The Cougars will continue their homestand next weekend when Regina comes to town. Puck drop for Friday night's game is scheduled for 7:00pm MST at Flames Community Arenas.
Lethbridge will head east for a weekend set against Manitoba. Friday evening's game is set for 7:00pm CST in Winnipeg.