Dan Khavkin, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY - An emotional match took place at the Flames Community Arenas Friday night for the seventh annual MRU Remembers event, held in appreciation of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Mount Royal University Cougars hosted first place Saskatchewan Huskies to open their weekend set, dropping a 3-2 contest in the fifth period of play.
Saskatchewan picks up their ninth consecutive win while MRU drops their third decision in a row.
Nationally ranked second Saskatchewan went into the night on a scorching eight-game win streak, while MRU looked to bounce back after getting swept at the hands of city rivals Calgary Dinos.
MRU head coach Bert Gilling commented after the game saying, "We hung in there for five periods against the best team in the league, just couldn't get the result we wanted."
"I like the way our guys competed. We played a way better effort than last weekend for sure, our biggest takeaway is you've got to do this for 60 minutes, 65 and on if required."
In the first frame, both teams ran into penalty trouble with both teams drawing three penalties each, but the Cougars are the ones who landed the first blow after surviving a two-minute five-on-three penalty kill that the Huskies couldn't solve.
On the third MRU power play, Connor Rankin capitalized for his second goal of the season at 15:02, rifling a shot over Taryn Kozun.
The Huskie netminder stopped 24 of 25 on the night.
MRU Rankin's tally was the difference in the first period and gave his Cougars side a 1-0 lead heading into the first break.
The Cougars stagnated in play and were slowed down by a surging Huskies squad who began controlling play. Saskatchewan had a steady 12 shots on net in the second period to MRU's measly total of four.
With the added pressure, Saskatchewan tied the contest at 1-1 on a broken play that Parker Thomas benefited on, tapping the puck loose behind a confused Wyatt Hoflin in the MRU crease at 11:33.
Hoflin stopped 23 in his first home start of the season.
Parker's fifth goal of the season was the only tally in the period as both teams took a 1-1 score line heading into the final break.
An action packed third period looked to seal the fate, but the scoring stopped after a quick rush of offense for both sides. Saskatchewan found the back of the net on their seventh power play attempt just 17 seconds into the period courtesy of Carson Stadnyk.
MRU kept their composure along with their compete level as two minutes later, Chris Gerrie drew the game even at 2-2 on a gritty wraparound effort straight of a face-off.
The latter portion of the period solved nothing including a 4v4 session.
In the fifth period of play, Thomas ended the game, outwaiting Hoflin for his second on the night to give his Huskie side the win.
"We have to refocus and get ready for the game tomorrow," Cougars goal scorer Rankin commented after the game.
The rematch is set for tomorrow back at the FCA with puck drop ready for 6 p.m.