Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan women's hockey team split the weekend series with the UBC Thunderbirds as they fell in overtime by a score of 2-1, on Nov. 10, at Merlis Belsher Place.
Kayla Kirwan scored the lone goal for Saskatchewan, which stands as the defenseman's fourth goal of the season, with Chloe Smith adding an assist on the marker.
Meanwhile, Hannah Koroll provided the equalizer to the opening Huskies goal, while Hannah Clayton-Carrol's overtime winner stood up as the difference in the game.
Jessica Vance recorded 29 saves on 31 shots in the losing effort for the Huskies with the defending Canada West player of the year's record falls to 4-1-1.
At the other end, Tory Micklash kicked aside 28 of 29 shots she faced to lead the Thunderbirds to victory and moved to 4-1 on the season.
Saskatchewan falls to 4-2-3-1 with the loss, although the club remains in third place in the Canada West with 19 points. Meanwhile, UBC moves to 4-2-2-2 with the win, which snaps the team's three game losing skid and inches the team closer to Saskatchewan in the standings, as they now trail the Huskies by a single point.
The Huskies took advantage of their first powerplay of the night and got the all-important first goal of the game, as Kirwan's slapshot from the point found twine to give her side an early 1-0 lead. The marker stands as the second goal of the series for the third-year defenseman, as the Gull Lake Saskatchewan native was the overtime hero in Friday night's contest.
However, moments later, UBC responded right back. After a scramble in front of Vance, Koroll was able to find her way onto the loose puck and roof a wrister over top of the Saskatchewan netminder to tie the game at a goal apiece.
After one period of play, the Thunderbirds outshot the Huskies 11-8.
Despite UBC taking five minor penalties during the second period, Saskatchewan was unable to capitalize on the opportunities as their powerplay went 0-5 in the frame. However, they were able to keep the Thunderbirds off the scoresheet as well, as they killed off both of the penalties they committed during the period.
Saskatchewan outshot UBC in the frame 9-6, with the shots on goal through the game in favor of the road team, 20-19.
After the second period lacked many quality scoring opportunities, the play opened up immediately in the third frame with, as moments into the period the puck fell to Nicole Fry in the slot, and the first-year forward ripped a wrist shot on net, but Micklash was able to make the save.
Saskatchewan continued to press in the final period, as the team's fourth-line went to work.
From behind the net, Sophie Lalor was able to find Kennedy Brown in front of the cage. However, Brown was unable to get a good shot away as the puck rolled off her stick.
Just a few minutes later, the Huskies broke into the zone with numbers, and Brooklyn Haubrich elected to keep the puck herself, as the Saskatchewan captain carried it right into the slot, however, Micklash stood strong and stopped both shots from the fourth-year forward to keep the game tied.
Soon after Shyan Elias was sprung on a breakaway off a beautiful stretch pass, but Micklash shut down the Huskies scoring opportunity with a precise poke check on the fourth-year forward who was looking to provide the late-minute magic for her club for the second straight night.
Moments later, UBC hopped on the counter-attack as Clayton-Carrol entered the zone with speed and a clear lane towards the cage. But her shot from the hash marks was smothered by Vance. The Thunderbirds continued to pepper shots on the Huskies goal, as Koroll stepped up from the blue-line looking for her second goal of the night, but Vance denied the rookie defenseman.
Both clubs were able to fend off a flurry of scoring opportunities inside the final minute, as Micklash denied Abby Shirley and followed it up with another well-executed poke-check to deny Elias once again. While at the other end Vance shut the door on multiple Thunderbirds to keep the game tied.
For the second consecutive night, regulation solved nothing, so the clubs went to overtime.
Chloe Smith provided the first quality scoring opportunity, as she broke into the zone and toe-dragged around a defender, although her shot sailed over the top of the crossbar.
With only 7.8 seconds remaining in the overtime period, the Thunderbirds ended the game. Clayton-Carrol poked home the puck from her knees following a mad scramble in the Huskies crease, which resulted in jubilation from the road team, as they split the series with their conference foe with a 2-1 victory.
Saskatchewan will continue their homestand at Merlis Belsher Place next weekend, as the Mount Royal Cougars come to town for a two-game series. Meanwhile, UBC will return home to Vancouver to welcome the defending national champion Manitoba Bisons.