Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – Returning to conference action after the semester break, the Lethbridge Pronghorns overcame a slow start to kick off 2019 in impressive fashion with a 6-2 victory over the Regina Cougars in Canada West men's hockey action.
The win improves the Pronghorns record to 6-9-2 and more importantly increases the Pronghorns lead over the Cougars and Manitoba Bisons to seven points for the final playoff spot in Canada West. The Bisons were beaten 4-1 by the Alberta Golden Bears tonight in Edmonton.
With the loss the Cougars fall to 3-13-1 and remain tied with the Bisons at the bottom of the Canada West standings with seven points.
Sam McKechnie scored twice for the Pronghorns, while Ryan Chynoweth, Michael Grant, Justin Valentino and Torrin White added singles in the win. For the Cougars Zak Zborosky and Corey Kosloski replied in a losing cause.
After allowing a early goal, Pronghorn goaltender Garret Hughson settled into make 34 saves to earn the victory, while his counterpart Dawson MacAuley stopped 49 of the 55 shots he faced in the loss.
Only 53-seconds into the game the Cougars opened the scoring. Zak Zborosky took a pass in the neutral zone, splitting a pair of Pronghorn defenders and outwaited Hughson for his fourth goal of the season.
After killing off a penalty of their own, the Cougars had an extended two-man advantage but the Pronghorns penalty killers did an exceptional job to kill off both penalties and keep the deficit only one.
With both teams down a skater, Brooks Maxwell and Connor Sanvido hooked up on a partial two-on-one with Maxwell sliding a pass across to Sanvido but MacAuley went post-to-post to turn Sanvido's attempt aside.
After only one goal through the first
Just over a 1:30 later however, the Cougars would regain their lead. Gary Marr found Corey Kosloski deep in the slot and Kosloski made no mistake, beating Hughson with a wrister.
The lead did not last long, as Michael Grant stripped a Cougar defender on the half wall and walked to the net and beat MacAuley high to the blocker side.
Taking their first lead of the game, the Pronghorns continued the offensive onslaught in the second period. Sam McKechnie banged home his own rebound for his third goal of the season, assists went to newcomer Derek Brown and Dalton Sward.
Leading scorer Justin Valentino extended the Pronghorn lead to 4-2 just past the five minute mark of the third period. Entering the offensive zone on a two-on-two rush, Valentino cut to the middle and snapped a shot over the shoulder of MacAuley.
On a fourth power play of the game, the Pronghorns extended their lead as Torrin White deflected Brooks Maxwell's point shot past MacAuley.
With just over seven minutes to play, McKechnie deflected home his second of the night to push the Pronghorns lead to 6-2 and round out the scoring.
The Pronghorns and Cougars will be back at it tomorrow afternoon to conclude the season series, puck drop is slated for 2:00 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
Photo by: MPP Photography