The MRU playoff picture
Cougars’ women’s hockey team participates in first playoff in team history
Dan Khavkin, Staff Writer, & Brendan Stasiewich, Sports Editor
The Mount Royal Cougars women’s hockey team were featured in their first playoff run since joining the CIS (the league now known as USPORTS), the highest amateur sporting league in the nation. The women faced a tough task having to take on the fifth ranked team in the nation, the Manitoba Bisons.
The Cougars playoff prospects looked slim early on in the season, but a 6-6 record in 2017 was enough to book a Canada West quarter final meeting in Winnipeg against a Bisons squad that finished the season with a 7-3 run in their last 10.
Manitoba had MRU’s number this season, posting a 3-1 record while shutting the Cougars out twice.
Game-one took place in Wayne Flemming Arena on Feb. 17 where Manitoba took a 1-0 series lead, winning game-one by the score of 5-1.
Gabrielle Sepper was the lone Cougar scorer when her shot that looked liked a pass found a way past Bisons’ goalie Rachel Dyck to tie the game at one.
It was a back and forth affair until the Bisons sticks came alive in the third period and put three pucks past Cougars netminder Emma Pincott, who had been the heart and soul of the team all season long.
Dyck stopped 26 of 27 pucks faced while Pincott stopped 20 of 25.
Game-two the following night had a nail biting finish. To the Cougars misfortune, they dropped the return match and were eliminated from the playoffs, dropping the contest 1-0.
The Cougars squeezed out a mere twelve shots in the game, eight of which coming in the final frame while the Bisons threw 16 on the Cougars net. Alana Serhan scored the lone goal of the contest, which proved to be the game winner, sending the Bisons to the semi-finals.
The Cougars had a very rare 6-on-3 powerplay late in the game, but thanks to hard-nosed defense, The Bisons managed to keep the puck out of the net.
It’s back to the drawing board for MRU, but this season may prove to be a very valuable stepping stone, finally gaining Canada West playoff experience.
On the Court
For the fourth and third time in Canada West history, both the women’s and men’s volleyball teams were able to play their way into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, being lower seeded teams, both squads had their work cut out for them on the road against high flying opponents.
The women traveled to Trinity Western for a weekend ‘best of three’ against the fourth ranked Spartans.
After getting swept in the first contest, the Cougars attempted to rally back from two sets down in the second to no available, only winning a single set over the weekend, sending the team home.
The Cougars may be in tough next season, losing four everyday athletes. The graduating student-athletes include libero and unsung hero on the court Maddi Quinn, Robyn Potolicki, Julia Kryzan, and Kylie Willis, one of the most valuable players on the court over the past few seasons for Mount Royal.
Much like the women, the 13-11 men’s team were forced to travel to Alberta for a weekend set against the UofA Golden Bears.
After a heartbreaking five set loss in game-one, the devastated squad lost their second match in as many nights, this time in straight sets.
The men have a lot to look forward to next season with their best hitters, Tyler Schmidt and Riley Friesen, both returning. Setter Samuel Brisbane and outside hitter Lachie Pollock, however, each played their final game in a Cougars jersey, both graduating this semester.