One shutout in a back-to-back CIS hockey series is outstanding, but getting two is even better.
Just ask Tara Lacquette and Leiette Klassen, who each earned shutouts in the women’s hockey weekend series against the Lethbridge Pronghorns in decisive 8-0 and 5-0 wins, respectively.
Friday night saw the Bisons get onto the scoreboard 19 seconds into the game as Addie Miles lit up the lamp with an unassisted goal. Becca King potted another at 1:48 and, at 2:10, Kayla Duna popped one in past Pronghorns’ goaltender Crystal Patterson.
At that point, Pronghorns head coach Chandy Kaip called a time out. Shortly after the break, the Pronghorn defence mounted some pressure, but it was ultimately short-lived, as the overzealous energy would lead to two penalties before the midpoint of the first. The Bisons couldn’t muster anything on the power play but did manage to round out the scoring for the period as Kristy Majeran scored at 15:16 as a result of some hard work around the Pronghorn net. At this point, Coach Kaip pulled Patterson and replaced her with Shauntelle Williams.
The Bisons made the score 4-0 at the four minute mark of the second as an errant pass from Brigette Lacquette bounced off a Pronghorn skate and Manitoba forward Nellie Minshull picked it up and put it straight through Williams’ five-hole. Sixty-three seconds later, Chelsea Braun made the long shot from four feet above the left circles, the screened shot going past the goalie’s stickhand side. Later in the period, Tammy Brade scored on a close-range shot that snuck past Williams’ glovehand side.
The Pronghorns started to find their legs with about five minutes left in the second frame, but couldn’t buy a decent scoring opportunity around Bisons goaltender Tara Lacquette. Instead, the home team found the net again as Amy Lee shot one in over the stickhand shoulder of Williams, making the score 8-0.
The third period saw Crystal Patterson return to the Pronghorns net and the Pronghorns pressure from the second continued on into the third. Despite outshooting the Bisons 9-3 in the final frame, Lethbridge couldn’t find the twine behind goaltender Lacquette.
Regarding the change in attitude in the third period, Pronghorns forward Shelby Ballendine said, “We came out with a lot more anger and we realized that wasn’t our best game, our best two periods, and we had to pick it up.”
“I expect a lot more out of [the Pronghorns] tomorrow night as they had a lot more intensity in the third period, and all their heads were in the game,” said Bisons goaltender Tara Lacquette.
“We just went home last night and [ . . . ] said ‘You know what, let’s just have fun out there!’ We went swimming and did fun things as a team [before the game],” said blueliner Ashley Beattie about the change in attitude for the Pronghorns in Saturday’s game.
“We changed our warm-up, we changed everything about the way we prepared for the game.”
The Pronghorns’ game plan for the second contest seemed to be working, as the game remained scoreless throughout the first period. However, the 7:15 mark of the second frame saw Manitoba regain the momentum. Pronghorn goaltender Patterson was caught out of position and Kristy Majeran had nothing but the empty cage to shoot at, putting the Bisons in the lead 1-0.
The Pronghorns tried responding with all kinds of pressure, but the Bisons defenders kept their sharpshooters at bay. At 11:01, Michelle Pawluk scored her first CIS goal. After that, the Pronghorns started losing their cool, getting into some penalty trouble. Pawluk potted her second of the night on the power play at 13:48 and Tammy Brade shot one in over the glove of Patterson, completing the scoring for the second period at 16:10. In the second, Manitoba outshot Lethbridge 17-4.
“There for sure was a change in momentum [in the second period], we just didn’t come out with our legs; we were giving up our men. It wasn’t the team that came out to play in the first period for sure,” said Beattie about her team.
The third period saw the Bisons continue their stampede-like momentum and also saw the Pronghorns get continually frustrated as their penalty woes continued. A brief 10 second 5-on-3 power play for Manitoba saw Pawluk dialing long distance from three feet inside the Pronghorn’s blueline, making her right-point shot count as she found the twine at 15:23 of the third, rounding out the scoring for the night. With the third period goal, rookie Pawluk earned her first CIS career hat trick.
“We knew they were going to come out harder because we beat them last night, so I think the intensity in [our locker] room was up because we just wanted these points after a bad series last weekend [against the Saskatchewan Huskies],” said Pawluk after the game.
STREAKERS: On two-game point scoring streaks now are Becca King, Tammy Brade, Addie Miles, Maggie Litchfield-Medd, Bridgette Lacquette, Kristy Majeran, and Kayla Duna. Sporting impressive shut-out streaks are Tara Lacquette with 64:40 and Leiette Klassen with 67:25.
NEXT ACTION: The Bisons team will be on the road for the next two weekends as they take on the Regina Cougars Nov 5-6 and the Calgary Dinos Nov 12-13. Their next home action will take place Nov 19-20 at the Max Bell Arena.