Women’s hockey wins first ever Canada West title

The Huskies women’s hockey team hoists the Canada West trophy for the first time.

The Huskies women’s hockey team hoists the Canada West trophy for the first time.

It took 17 hard-fought periods but the Huskies women’s hockey team won their first ever Canada West title over the University of Regina Cougars two games to one. After splitting the first two games, the Dogs won the deciding match 2-1 after two overtimes.

The Dogs now advance to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship, which will be held from March 13-16 at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.

The series was a battle from first goal to last, with every contest needing at least two overtimes to be decided. The Huskies took the first game 1-0 thanks to Marley Ervine’s goal with 22 seconds left in the second overtime.

The second game broke the record for longest-ever Canada West women’s hockey game with the teams battling for four hours and 53 minutes.

The Cougars were first on the board at 6:39 in the second period. Kendra Finch intercepted a pass and fired a shot past Huskie goaltender Cassidy Hendricks into the top corner. The Huskies tied the game in the final seconds of the period when a slap shot from Julia Flinton was deflected into the net by Ervine.

Regulation time ended with the score tied at 1-1 and the teams remained in a deadlock for three overtime periods. It wasn’t until the fourth overtime that the Cougars were able to net the win with a goal from Alexis Larson.

The deciding game was another close affair with the score staying locked at zero for the first two periods.

Every member of the women’s hockey team played hard during the championship series.

Every member of the women’s hockey team played hard during the championship series.

Huskie captain Cami Wooster broke the deadlock and brought the packed rink to their feet with a goal at 4:46 in the third period.  After taking a pass from Ervine, Wooster shook off a defender and sent a shot just inside the left post to beat Cougar goalie Jennifer Schmidt.

It didn’t take long for the Cougars to respond. Krista Metz sent a shot towards net that Hendricks was able to deflect but Carleen Meszaros chipped the puck over and into the net.

In a familiar turn of events, the game headed into overtime. Neither team was able to grab the win in the first added period. Although the Huskies came incredibly close a number of times —  including one scramble in front of the net — Schmidt was able to turn all attempts away.

In the second overtime things got heated on the ice with Cougar Nikki Watters-Matthes and Huskie Chelsey Sundby each being sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Kaitlin Willoughby sealed the win for the Huskies five minutes into the period, sending a slap shot from the top of the circle which deflected off of a Cougar player’s stick and found the back of the net.

“It was the goal you dream about scoring your whole life. Championship game, double overtime — it was the best feeling in the world,” Willoughby said in an email to the Sheaf.

Both goaltenders were incredibly successful in net over the three games. Hendricks made a total of 124 saves in the series while Schmidt made 122 at the other end of the ice.

The CIS championship runs March 13-16 at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.


Photos: Jordan Dumba & Katherine Fedoroff