Dan Khavkin, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY, AB - The Mount Royal University Cougars kept it close, but had their third period comeback bid fall short against top dogs of Canada West, Saskatchewan Huskies who completed the sweep of the Cougars with a 4-2 result Saturday night at the Flames Community Arenas.
Saskatchewan extend their win streak to 10 games while Mount Royal will look to regroup next week after suffering back-to-back sweeps.
Both teams continued to help the cause of the other by starting the game knee-deep in penalty trouble with a combined seven calls, three of which to the home-side Cougars.
Contrary to the night previous, it was Saskatchewan who capitalized on the power play for the first tally of the game, meanwhile Mount Royal's struggles on the man-advantage continued to show from the night before.
Both teams had lackluster power plays on the weekend as MRU converted twice out of 11 chances, while the Huskies converted twice out of 15 attempts. The Saskatchewan power play did prove to be more threatening than the Cougars' as MRU struggled to set up almost every time while the Huskies kept a heavy press.
The first goal of the game came when MRU was down two men and the Cougars defensive unit was exposed by the pressing Huskie offence. MRU netminder Wyatt Hoflin stood tall, making an incredible cross-crease toe save on the initial shot from Michael Sofillas, but the fifth-year forward made a successful attempt at the net at 10:37.
Chris Gerrie answered for his Cougars side with a power play goal of his own in the final minute of the period. Tyson Helgesen reversed the play at centre-ice and dropped the puck behind to a high-flying Gerrie, who zipped into the Huskie zone and wired a wrist shot past Taryn Kozun.
"We proved to ourselves we can play with them and if we get better every week, we'll be beside them" said Gerrie post-game.
Both teams took a 1-1 score line heading into the first break.
Not much went on during the second period, until the latter portion where the Huskies put MRU under a siege, wearing the Cougar back five down until they finally cracked.
Sam Ruopp's point shot hit Alex Forsberg square in the shin at the front of the net and the deflection flew past everyone and into the back of the net at 18:58.
28 seconds later, Levi Cable finished off a bang-bang breakout play at centre-ice that sprung him alone with Hoflin and beat the Cougars goaltender glove high with just 34 seconds left in the period.
Wyatt Hoflin, who appeared injured in the second period, was replaced by Riley Morris to start the final period.
Morris came through big in relief, stopping all 13 pucks thrown at him.
MRU Colton Kroeker's fifth goal of the season made things interesting with his third period tally to close the gap down to one, but the Cougars ultimately ended any hopes of a comeback when Brad Kennedy was penalized with a five minute major that went along with a minor penalty.
Morris carried the MRU defense and stood on his head during the lengthy five-on-three penalty kill, but the drained momentum and loss of time on the game clock sealed the Cougars' fate.
Huskies' Cable potted an empty net goal for his second of the night and seventh of the season with 20 seconds left to end Saskatchewan's fifth consecutive sweep of the season.
Next weekend MRU will look to bounce back against Lethbridge in a home and away series, while Saskatchewan hosts Manitoba.