Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- The Mount Royal University Cougars fell 4-1 in round two versus the Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday night at the Flames Community Arenas. The Cougars couldn't stay out of the sin-bin as the Huskies capitalized on three of 12 power plays over the weekend, going two for seven tonight. Both teams were penalized for a combined 10 minutes in the opening frame and a total of 68 for the game.
Saskatchewan started the game on the front-foot, forcing MRU to play zone coverage in their end. This allowed the well-oiled Huskie offence to run their style of play. MRU however, did a good job containing the fast-paced Saskatchewan team who later on, were forced to play a more physical style of play for the rest of the period. MRU landed the first punch to start the game on a Brad Kennedy tally. His conference tying ninth goal of the season, came from a power play marker at 9:51. Connor Rankin slid the puck to Kennedy who was sitting at the top of the crease. After a slight hesitation, he flicked the puck over the shoulder and into the roof the net past Jordan Cooke to give MRU their first lead of the weekend. Kennedy's goal was the only point put on the board in the opening 20 minutes.
MRU started the second frame on a shaky note when MRU goalie Cam Lanigan bailed out Madison Smiley. Lanigan stopped 14 of 18 but got the yank at the start of the third where back-up Wyatt Hoflin came in for relief. Smiley attempted a pass across the ice in his zone but it was intercepted by John Lawerance, who read the play and walked in clean on goal but was robbed by the attentive netminder. The pressure kept mounting on the Cougars who eventually broke down after being pinned in their end for the majority of the period. Two straight Huskie goals less than five minutes apart gave the visitors their first lead of the contest. Carson Stadnyk connected on a Jordan Tkatch feed from behind the net at 4:58 that evened the game at ones. Minutes on, Colin Shirley walked in on Lanigan from the corner and tucked in a wrist shot on the far-side to give the Huskies their first lead of the game 8:04 into the second. Saskatchewan again found the back of the net on Josh Roach's 15th assist of the season when he sent Levi Cable in one-on-one who went on to beat Lanigan low-blocker at 14:58. MRU kept getting into more penalty trouble and again, this resulted in a Huskie goal. Jesse Forsberg picked up his second point of the game, slapping in a shot from the point through a crowd of bodies with three seconds left in the frame. 4-1 was the score heading into the third and final period.
The third period had no goals but a lot of penalty minutes with both squads racking up 54 penalty minutes in the final period alone. MRU look to regroup and get ready for an opening weekend rematch with a home-and-home set against the Alberta Golden Bears in Calgary Friday at 7 p.m. while Saskatchewan have a provincial battle scheduled with the Regina Cougars next weekend with puck drop ready for 7 p.m in Regina.
Four second-period goals help Huskies sweep the Cougars in Calgary
Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics