Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – Abby Shirley recorded the first multi-goal game in her Huskies career as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's hockey team defeated the Calgary Dinos 3-2, on Jan. 5, at Merlis Belsher Place.
Shirley scored twice, and Leah Bohlken potted the game-winning goal with six minutes remaining in the third period to help the Huskies pick up their second consecutive win. Shyan Elias had two assists while Emma Nutter, Emily Upgang, Chloe Smith and Bailee Bourassa added helpers in the win.
Diane Hitchings and Sage Desjardins both picked up their first goals of the season for the Dinos in the loss. Rachel Paul added an assist on Desjardins second period marker.
First-year goaltender Camryn Drever got the start on the second night of the back-to-back, and the netminder was solid for Saskatchewan. Drever picked up her third win of the season, as she stopped 15 of 17 shots fired her way.
Kira Wasylak was unable to pick up her first win of the season, as her record fell to 0-3, despite a strong effort between the pipes for Calgary. The second-year netminder stopped 28 of 31 shots fired her way on the night.
The Huskies moved to 11-6-4-1 with the win, while Calgary fell to 2-14-0-2 as they recorded their fourth consecutive loss.
Calgary got on the board early in the first period, as they were looking to avenge Friday night's loss to Saskatchewan. Priya Sidhu drove hard down the left wing on a one-on-one and set up Taylor Beck, whose shot from the slot was stopped by Drever, but Hitchings was there to clean up the rebound as she rifled home her first goal of the season.
However, the Huskies had an opportunity to respond with back-to-back powerplays. After the Dinos were able to kill the first man advantage off, the home side got on the board. Elias' point shot fell to Shirley, who was able to shovel home a backhander past Wasylak at 15:41 of the first period to knot the game up at one goal apiece.
Saskatchewan was looking for more minutes later, as Sophie Lalor was left all alone in the slot, but Wasylak made a fantastic save on the first-year forward's wrist shot to ensure the game would remain tied through one period of play.
The Huskies continued to build upon their dominant finish on Friday night, as they outshot the Dinos 15-6 in the opening frame.
Calgary re-took the lead at 6:02 of the second frame, as Desjardins picked up the loose puck, turned and wired a wrister overtop of the glove of Drever to give the road team the lead.
The Huskies were looking for their second powerplay of the night midway through the second period, as Shirley set up Chloe Smith with a one-timer inside the slot, but Wasylak made another tremendous save.
With just under three minutes remaining in the second period, Darcie Setzer blew a wheel at the Calgary blue line, which opened a lane down the right wing for Upgang who drove hard to the cage but her wrister was kicked aside by Wasylak.
With under a minute remaining in the second period, Saskatchewan went to work cycling the puck in the offensive zone. Elias drove to the net and her backhander was stopped by Wasylak, but Shirley was there to roof the rebound over top of the netminder for her second goal of the game.
The Huskies outshot the Dinos 6-4 in the second period, with both teams notching a goal in the frame.
Calgary threatened early in the final period, as Chelsea Court drove hard to the cage and attempted to wait out Drever, but the netminder slid across the crease and kicked her pad out to turn aside the opportunity. The Dinos continued to pressure the Huskies as the puck slid to Court again inside the slot, but once again, the rookie goaltender was able to make the save and corral the puck to avoid any rebound chance for the visitors.
The Huskies were able to pick the go-ahead-goal with just under six minutes remaining in the final frame, as Leah Bohlken was in the right place at the right time to pot her seventh goal of the season. The home team's powerplay proved to be the difference in the hockey game, as two of their three goals took place on the man-advantage.
Drever and company stood strong to limit scoring opportunities in the final minute and a half with Calgary pressing with their goaltender pulled, as Saskatchewan escaped with the win.
Saskatchewan will battle their provincial rivals next weekend, as they take part in a home and home against the Regina Cougars. Meanwhile, Calgary will head to Lethbridge to take on the Pronghorns next Friday night, before returning home to play host on the second night of the back-to-back.