Dinos best Cougars in tight matchup at the 'Dome
Brendan Stasiewich, Mount Royal Cougars Sports Information
CALGARY, AB- Fans in both Mount Royal Cougars (7-10-3-1) blue and University of Calgary Dinos (5-10-2-4) red flocked to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday evening to see the Dinos end up on the right side of a 3-2 game.
Chelsea Court, Delaney Frey and Rylee Smith scored for the Dinos while Janessa Jenkins scored two for the Cougars in a losing effort.
The game shaped up to be another tight and exciting matchup, which the two teams are no strangers to. The intercity rivals played back-to-back overtime games in November, both won by the Cougars.
The Dinos began the contest by outshooting and outplaying the Cougars in the first period, winning the shot battle 11-5 and eventually reaping the rewards because of it in the frame.
The Dinos scored just a few minutes in after a giveaway behind the Cougars net. Canada West scoring leader Iya Gavrilova stood poised behind the net with the puck and sent a pass in front to teammate Chelsea Court. From in tight Court slid her seventh of the season through the legs of Jessica Ross.
Mount Royal defenseman Channia Alexander made a great defensive play later in the first period, preventing Court from scoring her second of the game. On a two on one Gavrilova sent a beautiful saucer pass over Alexander's stick to Court. Alexander turned around and made a textbook stick lift, allowing the puck to slide harmlessly into Ross to freeze the play.
Ross came up big again with three minutes left in the period. With Hilary Moncrief coming into the zone on yet another two on one the forward elected to shoot high blocker side. Ross was able to get the blocker up and then slid cross-crease to cover the rebound despite a rush of Dinos players around her.
The line of Gabrielle Seper, Rachel Piitz, and Sarah Weninger was by far the most dangerous line for the Cougars during the first period. However despite drawing a tripping call with a minute and a half left in the period, the Cougars offense came up empty.
The Cougars came into the second period hot, turning the feel of the game around by firing multiple good chances towards the Dinos goal. The tenacious work paid off just three minutes into the period. Cylenna Alexander sent a shot from the point that was redirected in front by Janessa Jenkins. The redirect fooled Dinos' goalie Hayley Dowling and hit the post. Proving that sometimes you just have to be lucky, the puck then ricocheted off the back of Dowling's skate and slowly slid into her own net.
The Dinos had a quick answer. After a great Cougars' chance that went off the post Delaney Frey took the puck and shot like a bullet up the middle through the Cougars' defense. Making a "Mighty Ducks" style triple deke she fooled Ross for her second of the season.
With two minutes remaining in the period the Cougars would equal the score yet again. Mount Royal leading scorer Sarah Weninger took the puck in the corner and made a spectacular backhand feed onto the stick of Janessa Jenkins in the slot. Alone in front, Jenkins beat Dawling five-hole for her second of the game.
The Cougars outshot the Dinos 17-6 in the second period as the two teams went back to their respective dressing rooms deadlocked at two.
The Dinos took the lead just five minutes into the final frame. Kate Lumley took a shot that way blocked by a Cougars' defender and found the stick of Dinos' forward Rylee Smith. Smith sent a hard shot from the dot of the circle towards the top corner of the net. Ross elevated her shoulder but couldn't get enough on the puck to stop it, giving Smith her first goal of the year.
That would be all the insurance Dowling would need, turning away 25 of 27 shots improving her record to 5-3-1. Meanwhile Jessica Ross stopped 18 of 21 shots and falls to 4-7.
The two teams will do it all over again at the Flames Community Arenas tomorrow evening at 7 P.M.
Photo Credit: Adrian Shellard