Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - Mount Royal's opening weekend of Canada West men's hockey action has kicked-off with a 7-2 statement victory over the Regina Cougars Friday night in front of a bouncing Flames Community Arena.
Three goals from MRU rookies alongside two goals from fifth-year seniors were the highlight of the performance as Mount Royal picks up their first two points on the season.
"Contributions from everybody was huge tonight," MRU bench-boss Bert Gilling commented after the game. "It's always nice for these first-year guys to get their first goals out of the way. We hope they all build off that," he says.
MRU began the game on the front foot as Jesse Lees plastered a Regina player along centre ice moments after puck drop. Charging into the zone, he unloaded a shot of the post.
This huge jumpstart in momentum lead to three goals under eight minutes, making the difference for MRU.
Former Kootenay Ice forward and rookie Colton Kroeker, wristed home a Chris Gerrie pass just under the cross-bar a mere 2:41 into the game to begin the offensive outbreak.
Around five minutes later at 7:45, University of Western Ontario transfer Connor Chartier flicked a rebound into the net from a Jamal Watson one-maned effort to double the MRU lead.
Watson showed off his balance and core control, spinning back and forth while shrugging off players for a few moments before centering a pass that landed on Chartier's stick.
Minutes on, last season's most touted recruit Ryley Lindgren's one-knee one-timer ripped off the post and in to conclude an offensive explosion that helped give MRU a 3-0 lead heading into the first break.
Regina called a time-out to settle the game down.
MRU peppered Regina goaltender Michael Herringer with 18 shots in the first frame alone. He stopped 33 on the night.
A much calm and settled period for both Cougars squads saw both schools get a goal each in the second period.
Fifth-year veteran David Stephens tallied in his final home opener 9:30 into the frame for his first of the season while Regina got on the board late thanks to Tyler King's booming slapshot that solved freshman Riley Morris at 15:12.
Morris stopped 21 of 23 pucks on route for his first career U SPORTS win.
MRU took a 4-1 scoreline into the final break.
MRU continued the pressure heading into the final frame as another three-goal period sealed a 7-2 victory.
King netted his second goal of the game for Regina while player of the game Kroeker, picked up his second goal of the game stopping any hopes of a comeback while Josh Bly and fifth-year Zack Henry added their names under the goal column.
Both teams face-off tomorrow at 3 p.m. back at the FCA.