Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – Shyan Elias' late equalizer and Kayla Kirwan's overtime winner powered the University of Saskatchewan women's hockey team past the UBC Thunderbirds by a score of 4-3 in double overtime, on Nov. 9, at Merlis Belsher Place.
Chloe Smith and Elias each tallied a goal and an assist for the Huskies, while Bailee Bourassa and Kirwan also found the back of the net for the home team.
Emily Costales recorded a two-point night for the Thunderbirds with a goal and an assist, while Brie Bellerive and Mathea Fisher also added goals. Shay-Lee McConnell and Hannah Clayton-Carrol found their way onto the scoresheet with an assist each.
Rookie goaltender Camryn Drever kicked aside 32 of the 35 shots thrown in her way in her first career start at home as a member of the Huskies.
Meanwhile, Amelia Boughn stopped 20 of the 24 shots she faced for the Thunderbirds.
The Huskies moved to 4-2-4-0 with the win, while the Thunderbirds fall to 4-2-1-2 with the loss.
The match up served as the first meeting between the two teams since last season's Canada West semi-final at Rutherford Arena, where Saskatchewan swept UBC in the best-of-three series.
The Thunderbirds had a glorious opportunity to get on the board midway through the first period, as Fischer was set up on the doorstep, but the fourth-year wasn't able to connect on her shot attempt, keeping the game scoreless.
UBC continued to dial up the offensive chances on the ensuing power play, Fisher's wrister got past Drever but rang off the crossbar and ricocheted out of play.
In the waning minutes of the first period, Fisher was the beneficiary of her third grade-A scoring opportunity of the first period after a centering pass from behind the Saskatchewan net found her right in the slot, however, Drever was able to shut the door.
After one frame, the teams entered the locker rooms with the game locked up at 0-0. The Thunderbirds outshot the Huskies 8-7 in the first period.
Chloe Smith provided Saskatchewan with their first quality scoring chance of the game just minutes into the second period, as she broke in alone, however, Boughn made the save.
But just moments later, the play went the other way as UBC broke the stalemate when Bellerive's wrister from the slot got past a screened Drever to put the road team ahead 1-0.
However, the Huskies had a response, as Elias set up Bourassa in front of the cage and the third-year forward wired home her wrister to tie the game back up just moments later.
Momentum continued to swing wildly when the Thunderbirds took the lead back with just under two minutes to play in the second period. Clayton-Carrol's pass went tape-to-tape to Costales, who niftily dropped the puck off for Fischer, who made no mistake and finished off the beautiful passing play as she roofed her wrister over top of Drever's outstretched glove.
With under thirty seconds left in the second period, Bourassa was the recipient of a beautiful cross-seam pass. Though she was unable to find the back of the net after she rifled the puck off the post.
Through two periods of play, the Thunderbirds outshot the Huskies 21-12.
Moments into the third, UBC continued to dial up the pressure on Drever, as Bellerive was looking for her second goal of the night and she skated into the zone and ripped a wrister from the hash marks, but she connected with the crossbar.
Saskatchewan picked up the equalizer just over five minutes into the final frame, as Chloe Smith skated coast to coast and went short side past Droughn to tie the game at 2-2.
Drever continued to keep her team in the game in the third period as the Thunderbirds threw pucks towards the freshmen goalie, but the rookie made timely save after timely save.
Bourassa was looking for her second goal of the night on a Saskatchewan powerplay, however, Droughn slid across and made a fantastic stop on the Weyburn, Saskatchewan native's one-timer effort.
With just under five minutes to play in regulation, McFadden's beautiful stretch pass sprung Costales who went bar down on Drever to give the Thunderbirds the 3-2 lead.
However, with time winding down in the third, the Huskies were not ready to give up. Shirley recovered the loose puck and spotted Elias entering the zone. Elias was able to snipe home her first goal of the season, to tie the game and send it to overtime.
After five minutes of four-on-four failed to solve anything, the two teams hoped three-on-three would be the deciding factor.
The Huskies had the first great scoring opportunity of the overtime, as Brooklyn Haubrich broke into the zone on a two-on-one, but she was denied by Droughn.
Saskatchewan would eventually get rewarded for their pressure in the extra frame, as Kayla Kirwan broke into the zone and slid the puck past Droughn to record the game-winning goal in double overtime.
The Huskies and Thunderbirds will take the ice for the second game of the series on Saturday night at Merlis Belsher Place.