By Lethbridge Herald on January 27, 2020.
Them’s the breaks.
And if no one minds, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s hockey team wouldn’t mind a few more of them.
The Horns snapped an eight-game winless skid Friday night with a 3-2 win over the Mount Royal University Cougars in Canada West play in Calgary, but were unable to grab what would have been a most-welcome sweep Saturday night, losing the rematch 4-3 at Nicholas Sheran.
The weekend split moves the Pronghorns to 8-14-1-1 and four points back of the UBC Thunderbirds for the final playoff spot in the conference.
On Saturday, the offence came from the freshmen as Sage Sansregret, Eva DeBaie and Mila Verbicky scored for Lethbridge, but goals from Breanne Trotter and Anna Purschke a little under two minutes apart in the third period was enough to earn the Cougars the win to improve to 11-13-1-0 to keep hold of fifth in the Canada West.
“You look at where the offence is coming from and it’s those first-years,” said Pronghorns head coach Doug Paisley. “We had three first-years burying pucks for us and making smart plays. I can never knock our team for their effort. They work so hard, but man, we don’t get a lot of puck luck.
“The officiating was phenomenal this weekend, they let the girls play and they played. It was just the timing, a bounced puck or a lucky break here and there, a seam pass, we just don’t seem to get the breaks when we need them. But I was happy our power play capitalized tonight. I just thought we chased the game a little bit in last two periods and we just couldn’t get calmed down and poised enough and our puck support wasn’t as good as it has been.”
Sansregret gave the Horns a 1-0 lead after the first period, but the Cougars pulled even shorthanded 33 seconds into the second on a goal from Mackenzie Butz.
DeBaie’s first Canada West goal put the Pronghorns back up 2-1 8:14 into the second.
“Honestly, it was some really hard work from Eryn (Johanson),” said DeBaie. “She really got it down there and slipped it over to me and we were able to get it in. We were pretty excited.”
Tianna Ko pulled the Cougars even midway through the second and the quick snipes from Trotter and Purschke paced the visitors to a 4-2 lead.
Verbicky pulled the Horns to within one with a power play goal with 6:10 to go.
With goaltender Alicia Anderson on the bench for the extra attacker, the Pronghorns had some late chances, but the Cougars kept Lethbridge from the equalizer.“I think tonight we built off of what we did (Friday) and came out with a strong first period,” said Sansregret. “We got a couple on them quick and I think that’s what we needed a as momentum boost coming in to the past couple of weekends, having a couple losses under our belts. But last night was a good win for us.”
After eight games without a win, Friday’s road decision was crucial.
“It was huge,” said DeBaie. “I think the girls really had some momentum from last night and everybody bought it. Tonight we were close.
“We had a few chances we couldn’t bury, but will was there.”
“After how hard it’s been to the find the points, it was a really big win and a happy group coming home,” added Paisley. “We’re knicked up. We had some girls that are hurt and playing through it, so you have to commend then. (Friday night) was huge. Tonight’s ramifications were huge, we would have liked to get some points, but we’ll regroup and get ready for UBC next week.”
On the men’s side, the Horns earned a pair of points in their home-and-home tilt clash with the Cougars.
For the second time in as many nights, the Pronghorns pushed the Cougars to extra time, but Mount Royal prevailed Saturday night with a 4-3 shootout win.
After losing in 3-2 in double-overtime Friday night at Nicholas Sheran Arena, the Pronghorns are 5-16-3-0 and six points behind the Regina Cougars for sixth spot in the Canada West with two weekends and four games to go in the regular season.
On Saturday night, Torrin White scored in the first period to cut Mount Royal’s lead to 2-1 after the first. Taylor Fisher and Luke Coleman scored power play goals in the third period to make the Cougars’ 3-1 lead disappear and force overtime.
Horns goaltender Jack Burgart stopped 38 of 41 shots.
The Pronghorns host the Thunderbirds Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
The women’s team is in Vancouver Friday and Saturday
Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter