Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – On the strength of a dominant opening period, the Lethbridge Pronghorns put an end to an eight game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Regina Cougars.
Spencer Jensen, Sam McKechnie and Evan Wardley scored in the first to give the Pronghorns a 3-0 lead. Brooks Maxwell and Blake Orban scored the other Pronghorn goals. Cody Fowlie and Tristan Frei replied for the Cougars.
Entering the final weekend of the season, Lethbridge trailed the Calgary Dinos by four points for the final playoff spot but holding the tie breaker, the Pronghorns needed to win both games and hope that Manitoba could do them a favour, winning both games in regulation time.
Despite the Pronghorns taking care of the first half of the task with the win, they were officially eliminated from post-season contention with Calgary's 5-1 win over the Manitoba Bisons.
With the win, the Pronghorns improve to 9-15-2, while the Cougars have now lost 13 straight and drop to 3-22-2.
Lethbridge opened the scoring on a pretty three-way passing play three minutes in to the game, finished off by Spencer Jensen's one-timer that beat Cougar goaltender Dawson MacAuley short-side.
Just past the mid-way mark of the opening period, Sam McKechnie doubled the Pronghorn lead, poking home a loose puck at the edge of the crease.
The Pronghorns dominance continued, out shooting the Cougars 28-8 and Evan Wardley picked up the third goal of the period, squeaking a shot under the arm of MacAuley for his third of the season.
After a dominant opening period by the Pronghorns, Regina took their turn dictating the play, outshooting the Pronghorns 15-10 in the second but weren't rewarded until the final minutes of the period.
With just over two minutes to play in the period, Captain Cody Fowlie's deflection snuck through Pronghorn goaltender Garret Hughson for his eighth of the season.
On the third consecutive power-play of the period for the Regina, Tristan Frei banged home a rebound with on 16-seconds remaining in the period to cut Lethbridge's lead to 3-2.
First-year forward Brooks Maxwell regained the Pronghorns two goal lead just over five minutes into the third. Walking out of the corner, Maxwell roofed a shot over the shoulder of MacAuley. The goal was Maxwell's third in only 11 games as he joined the Pronghorns after the semester break.
Four minutes later, the Pronghorns increased the lead to three with a power-play marker. Blake Orban's one-timer from the point beat a screened MacAuley to round out the scoring.
Hughson finished the night with 37 saves in the win, while his counterpart Dawson MacAuley stopped 48 of the 53 shots he faced.
The Pronghorns and Cougars will conclude the 2017-18 Canada West season tomorrow afternoon, puck drops at Nicholas Sheran Arena at 1:00pm. Catch all the action at www.canadawest.tv.