Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – Propelled by two goals in a two-minute span in the second period, the Mount Royal Cougars extended their win streak and edged the Lethbridge Pronghorns 3-2 in the first game of a home-and-home series.
The win is the Cougars third in a row after sweeping the Regina Cougars to open the 2018 portion of the schedule last weekend and improves the Cougars' record to 5-11-3-0 on the season. The regulation win also vaults the Cougars ahead of the Calgary Dinos for the final playoff spot in Canada West.
The loss is the Pronghorns fourth in a row and really damages hopes of a playoff appearance, falling six points behind Mount Royal with only nine games remaining. The Pronghorns record is now 4-11-2-2.
Kyra Greig and Brett Campbell scored for the Pronghorns, while Rachle Piitz scored twice for Mount Royal, including the eventual game winning goal, and Anna Purschke picked up the other marker.
First-year forward Kyra Greig opened the scoring just over eight minutes into the game, slipping by a Cougar defender near centre ice and after her initial shot was stopped, she potted the rebound behind Cougar goaltender Zoe De Beauville for her fourth of the season.
Piitz got into the action seven minutes later to tie the score, walking out of the corner and while her first shot was stopped, she too capitalized on her own rebound.
However, before the period expired the Pronghorns regained their lead. Brett Campbell took a pass in the slot of Greig and made no mistake with a backhand from the slot to give the Pronghorns a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
In a period that the Cougars outshot the Pronghorns 14-8, all the damage the Cougars would end up needing happened in a 2:01 span just past the halfway mark of the period. Purschke brought the game level at 10:57 on a two-on-one and Piitz deflected one past Pronghorn goaltender Alicia Anderson on the power play for her second of the night.
While the Pronghorns weren't able to find the equalizer in the third period, it wasn't due to a lack of effort, outshooting the Cougars 14-6 but De Beauville wouldn't allow a third goal against.
Greig had a great chance early off a Campbell rebound but De Beauville made a big glove save and she was equal to the task on two late chances from Kaitlyn Breitkreuz and Tricia Van Vaernebergh.
De Beauville finished the night with 24 saves to secure her sixth win of the season, while Anderson turned aside 23 shots in the loss.
The back half of the home-and-home series will go tomorrow night at the Flames Community Arena in Calgary, puck drops at 6:00pm