The Mount Royal Cougars and University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey teams battled it out in two exhibition games this past weekend. It took the Cougars a little while to get back up to U Sports speed as they lost 6-0 in game one on Saturday to the Huskies. It was MRU’s first game against a Canada West team this year. The Huskies got two games under their belts against defending national champions the U of A Pandas the weekend before. The Sunday game was a much different story. The Huskies won 2-0 but the game really could have gone either way. This is how the game broke down.
The first period was pretty even. U of S held the possession advantage by a slight margin but overall both teams played to a deadlock in period number one.
In the second, U of S got out to a quick start scoring 22 seconds into the frame on a goal from Emma Nutter. Emily Severson played the first half of the game in goal for MRU before being replaced by Kate Kowalchuk. Severson made 12 saves on 13 shots against. The two goalies seem to be second and third on the depth chart behind starter Zoe De Beauville who could very well have an all star campaign for the Cougars this year. Shortly after Kowalchuk came in the Huskies added to their lead on the power play after a bad bounce on a shot from along the goal line. Mount Royal pushed back late in the second but couldn’t get on the board.
The third period was dominated by the Cougars offensively. Rachel Piitz made a couple of great passes in the slot but neither opportunity could be capitalized on. It was a valiant effort by MRU but they just couldn’t put the puck in the net.
U of S has a very good offensive team led by captain Kaitlin Willoughby. They will once again be one of the top teams in Canada West if this weekend proves anything. On the back end there is a battle for the starting goalie spot between two second year players. Both Chloe Marshall and Jasey Book pitched shutouts against the Cougars this weekend.
As for the Cougars they seem poised for a solid run this season. They have a good mix of strong vets and some excellent young talent as well. Goal scoring has been an issue the past couple of seasons but if someone breaks out this season and can pace the offense the MRU team could be one to watch as they have maybe the best goalie in Canada West.