Anthony Simone, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars beat their cross-town rival the University of Calgary Dinos in a 2-1 shootout thriller Friday night at Flames Community Arenas.
MRU came out of the gate flying, as they looked to come back strong after a 4-0 thumping by the Dinos in yesterdays matchup.
The Cougars created multiple scoring opportunities but were unable to put the puck in the back of the net.
The best opportunity for the Cougars came mid-way through the period as MRU's fifth-year defensemen Erin McLean received a pass wide open in the slot from Anna Purschke, but Dino's goaltender Kelsey Roberts turned down the strong wrist shot.
Roberts, who received her second shutout of the season last night, once again looked impressive through the first period, turning away all 9 Cougars shots.
UofC created a couple chances of their own, most notably when second-year forward Rachel Paul was sprung on the partial breakaway but was denied by Cougars net-minder Emily Severson.
Despite an extremely entertaining period of hockey, the score remained at 0-0 going into the second period.
Mount Royal continued to play with high intensity in the second period.
The Cougars opened the scoring just 4:09 into the period when third-year defensemen Channia Alexander blasted home her first goal of the season in front of a rowdy Cougars crowd.
The Dino's looked to even the score moments later when Holly Reuther ripped down the ice on a breakaway but was stoned by Severson.
MRU had a breakaway opportunity of their own late in the period when Kate Scidmore found herself wide open in Dino's territory. Roberts once again stood tall and denied Scidmore's snapshot blocker side.
Another exciting period of play came to an end with the Cougars leading 1-0 going into the final frame.
A great opportunity for UofC to tie the game came early in the 3rd on the power play. The Dinos sent a flurry of shots towards Severson but blocked shots and solid goaltending kept the Cougars lead at 1.
The Cougars played determined in the final period, applying pressure in the Dino's zone and keeping UofC's chances to a minimum.
Dino's pulled Roberts 18:25 into the period in a final attempt to push the game to OT.
The air was taken out of an anxious crowd at Flames Community Arena as they watched UofC tie the score 19:10 into the period.
Dino's first year forward Holly Reuther deflected a wrist shot past Severson with heavy traffic in front of the net to send the game to overtime.
Both the 4v4 and 3v3 overtime periods solved nothing, so the game would be decided by a shootout.
Reanna Arnold potted a goal on the first shootout attempt for the Cougars. The crowd roared in excitement as the Cougars were only 3 saves away from their first home win of the season.
Emily Severson then put an exclamation point on her impressive evening by stopping all 3 Dino skaters.
The Cougars celebrated their first home win of the season, which was kick-started by Channia Alexander's second-period goal, earning her first star honours.
"Finally. It feels great to get a home win." Alexander said.
"We played as a team and great goaltending kept us in it. When the Dinos soared late it didn't get us down, it pushed us to keep fighting. We just have to keep doing what we're doing and build on this win."
The Cougars will have the opportunity to build upon the victory as they take on the UBC Thunderbirds next Friday at 7 pm MT at Flames Community Arenas and can be live at www.canadawest.tv.