Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- The fourth meeting between crosstown rivals Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary was not any regular setting for a Canada West showdown. For the seventh time, the Cougars and Dinos clashed inside the Scotiabank Saddledome where Calgary picked up a vital three points with just two weekends left to play with a 2-1 win in front of 1,826 fans.
MRU bench boss Scott Rivett commented, "This night is always a great night for our student-athletes. We're still in a good spot where we can control our own destiny. We certainly feel good about our position."
Every game these inner-city rivals have played have been decided by one goal including an overtime decision that MRU just last Friday. MRU were looking to avenge that loss and even the series season.
Mount Royal came out as the hungrier team to start the game as sophomore Tianna Ko began a 10 minute run of momentum for the Cougars.
As fans were still taking their seats, Ko found herself one-on-one inside the first 50 seconds but her snapshot in close was caught by the glove of Kelsey Roberts who had to stay on her toes while the Dinos in front of her were pinned in their end.
Roberts survived the siege and stopped eight shots inside the first 10 minutes of the period alone. As she stood tall, her defense absorbed the pressure pressure to hold the score at 0-0.
Her Dinos came out flying out of the gates however and were rewarded with the chance to erupt the 'Dome when third-year Rachel Paul was taken down from behind from an open break by a back-checking MRU defender.
Paul's attempt on the penalty shot was missed though as she skied her attempt on goal over the head of Cougar goaltender Zoe De Beauville who held her ground early in the second period.
After another siege of MRU pressure where the Cougars could not find the back of the net despite multiple chances including a power play, Paul managed to redeemed herself when she found the top corner on a swift counter-attack at 15:37 on just Calgary's 10th shot of the game to lift Dino fans from their seat.
Roberts denied an incoming Cougar charge to the net and kept the puck out sprawling on the ice. The halt sprung her Dino forwards out of their own zone where Paul walked in and snapped a shot over the shoulder of De Beauville on her short-side for her second goal of the season.
17-10 shots in favour of the Cougars set up an obvious make or break third period for the Dino season who need a win to stay in the playoff hunt.
MRU broke their offensive struggles on the stick of Anna Purschke who wired a shot off of a face-off and through traffic past a screened Roberts for her third goal on the campaign.
Calgary answered right back with a face-off goal themselves just moments on Taylor Beck's first goal of the season. As a shot from Sage Desjardins sailed wide, the puck bounced off of the boards and into the pad of De Beauville who couldn't recover in time as Beck whacked the puck into the net.
Roberts kept her Dino squad in the lead thanks to her save of the game late in the frame with under five minutes left in play as Purschke came in close on a three-on-two rush that was swept to the side by the veteran goaltender who stopped 26 shots on route for the win.
With the win Calgary extends their record to 5-2 record in the big game, having won the past two seasons.
The Dinos need to go on a huge run and will be forced to rely on other results to have a chance at playoffs while MRU will be regrouping in their tight playoff battle.
Calgary travels to Regina while MRU travel to Saskatchewan for the penultimate weekend of the season.