By: Jesse Couture (Pronghorns Athletics)
Lethbridge – After pulling out a big overtime win, Friday night, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns were dealt their first loss of the regular season, dropping a 3-1 decision to the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Alicia Anderson got the start for Lethbridge and faced a total of 34 shots on the night. Cassidy Hendricks started in net for Saskatchewan and she managed to stop all but one of the 21 shots she faced.
Anderson was tested early and often. Huskies' third-year forward Kaitlyn Willoughby got the Saskatchewan offence going in the opening minutes of play, driving hard into the slot and putting a shot on net. Her effort was denied by the Lethbridge keeper, who shut the door and forced the puck wide.
Responding to the early pressure from the Huskies, Lethbridge's Mattie Apperson's shot through traffic got lost in a flurry of bodies and Hendricks managed to stop the 'Horns in position on the doorstep, eagerly looking to push a loose rebound over the line.
In the final minute the first, Anderson made a show-shopper of a save. Marley Ervine's shot from in close soared up and behind, into dangerous territory along the crossbar, but her effort was no match for the quick reflexes of the Lethbridge keeper, who managed to blindly get her glove up in time to knock the puck out of harm's way.
The Huskies struck first, early in the second. Harris placed a low wrister directly on target that managed to slip through the pads of the Lethbridge keeper. Wasting no time, Johnson quickly doubled-up her team's lead less than ten seconds later. After an unsuccessful effort from Alyssa Dobler, Johnson connected with a flying loose rebound and managed to tuck it in behind an outstretched Anderson.
With Kira Bannatyne in the box for hooking and Alyssa Dobler called, less than a minute later, for hitting from behind, the 'Horns would look to make the most of a mid-frame 5-on-3 and it didn't take long to capitalize on their efforts. Van Vaerenbergh unloaded a hard shot from the top of the circle and a well-screened Hendricks was unable to see the puck. Her third goal of the season cut the Huskie's lead in half at 7:21.
Van Vaerenbergh and Chelsea Kasprick were each assessed minor penalties late in the second period, which meant the 'Horns would see the other side of a 5-on-3. Herner rose to the occasion for the Huskies and, with the help of Leah Bohlken and Lauren Zary, managed to re-establish a two-goal lead. Despite a great late offensive surge by the 'Horns, Hendricks and the Huskies held on to split the weekend series.
With this loss, the 'Horns sit at 5-1-0 and travel to Calgary, next week where they will face off against the U of C Dinos for the first half of a two-game home-and-home series. The Huskies, meanwhile, improve to 4-2-0 and will face the Regina Cougars in a home-and-home series as well.