WHKY: Cougars lock up Canada West playoff spot with win over Dinos

WHKY:  Cougars lock up Canada West playoff spot with win over Dinos

U of R Sports Information

REGINA - The University of Regina women's hockey team clinched a Canada West playoff berth with a 2-1 win over the Calgary Dinos at The Co-operators Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Emma Waldenberger and Adela Juzkova were the goal scorers for the Cougars, as Waldenberger reached the double-digit goal plateau for the second time in her career. Sage Desjardins scored for Calgary, as the Dinos drop to 4-18-1-3.

The Cougars complete the season sweep against the Dinos, with all four games finishing with a 2-1 score.

"It was a big weekend for us, just to take a little pressure off next weekend," Waldenberger said after Saturday's game. "We were on a losing streak so it was a good turnaround weekend for us and we needed that momentum heading into the playoffs."

Jane Kish picked up her eighth win of the season in net for the Cougars, stopping 15 Calgary shots for the second game in a row. Kira Wasylak made 25 saves in between the pipes for Calgary.

After a scoreless opening frame in which the Cougars outshot Calgary 9-6, the second period brought more of the same. Regina outshot the Dinos 11-2 in the period as both teams struggled to solve the opposing netminder. Ireland South had two glorious chances for the Cougars, hitting the crossbar twice in the middle stanza. The second instance was a better scoring opportunity, as South came out of the penalty box and was sprung in alone by Waldenberger, but her high shot rang the iron.

Waldenberger finally got the Cougars on the board with about four minutes left in the second period, on a two-on-one with Chelsea Hallson. The Dino defender took away the pass to Waldenberger, forcing Hallson to shoot. Wasylak made a nice glove save on Hallson's shot, but the puck popped up in the air and Waldenberger was able to bat it out of the air for her 10th goal of the season. Hallson and Shaelyn Vallotton earned assists on the goal that gave the Cougars the lead heading into the third period.

Juzkova doubled the Cougar lead early in the third period, as a point shot from Vallotton deflected off her skate and beat Wasylak to the short side. Sidney Shyiak also assisted on the goal, earning her first point as a Cougar.

Calgary answered back quickly with a beauty of a marker from Desjardins. The third-year forward went one-on-one with a Cougar defender, making a nice deke to her right before flipping a backhand just out of the reach of Kish's pad. Taylor Beck and Erin Armstrong set up the goal.

Calgary went to the powerplay with three and a half minutes to play, as Vallotton was whistled for boarding. Calgary couldn't muster any scoring chances with the advantage and was unable to get Wasylak out of her net until about 20 seconds to play due to a swarming Cougar attack. The best chance for the Dinos to even the score came with less than ten seconds left as Sara Craven ripped a shot but Kish kicked it away and the rebound steered clear of danger.

Saturday's contest marked the final regular season home games for both Waldenberger and Nikki Watters-Matthes, who will graduate the program after the season.

"I didn't think it would feel any different (than any other game), but when today happened with the ceremony and everything it was kind of surreal that five years has already passed," Waldenberger added.

Calgary will close its season with a home-and-home series against Alberta next weekend.

The Cougars (9-12-2-3) will head to Vancouver next weekend to take on the UBC Thunderbirds. Regina can still finish in the fifth or sixth spot in the Canada West standings, meaning they will visit either UBC or Saskatchewan for a conference quarterfinal series on Feb. 15-17.