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MRU Cougars women's hockey team heading to Canada West final

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The Mount Royal Cougars will travel to Vancouver to face the UBC Thunderbirds for the Catherwood Cup.

The Cougars got there by beating the University of Alberta Pandas in the semi-finals on the weekend.

The Cougars won the third and deciding game 2-1, with forward Sydney Benko scoring the winning goal on the power play with just over five minutes left.

She says it's a goal she'll never forget.

"I don’t think I've ever been more excited," she said.

"I knew there wasn't much time left in the game, so it was pretty crazy to be the one to score the goal. I can't give enough credit to my teammates. We played unreal all game, so just having that moment with them was something I'll never forget."

LOW-SCORING SERIES

Cougars goaltender Kaitlyn Ross played a big role in the victory over Alberta.

She allowed just two goals in the three games.

Ross says that's exactly how she thought the series would play out.

"Two strong goaltenders at each end. It was definitely back and forth and we both had to be solid. We had to be better defensively and I think we were."

UNDER PRESSURE

Ross loves to play in those kinds of series and she believes it will be much of the same against UBC starting Friday night.

"Honestly, my favourite I play in are the high-pressure ones," she told CTV News.

"Playoff games, high stakes, do or die. Those are my best moments and I like to think I stay very calm in those games and they're very fun to play in."

BATTLING FOR THE CATHERWOOD CUP

The Cougars will have to knock off the giants if they want to raise the Catherwood Cup and earn a spot in the National Championships in Montreal March 16-19.

The Thunderbirds are the defending Canada West champs and finished in first place in the regular season.

But the series between the two teams was close in the regular season.

The T-Birds won the first game 2-0.

The Cougars would come back to bland the Thunderbirds 1-0 in the second game.

Benko says the Cougars have a lot of momentum heading into the final.

"I think we just need to stick to what we've been doing the last two weekends. We've played a lot of hockey recently, six games in the last nine days." She said.

"I think if we stick to our keys, the momentum we have will keep us rolling and just keeping it simple and not making anything too complicated."

TOUGH BATTLE

Ross agrees and is looking forward to another close series.

"It's going to be a tough battle," she said.

"But we've had two playoff series under our belt and we've faced them before. We split with them and kind of know what we're expecting and we know we just have to stick to our game and I think we're on a roll right now, so I think we'll be good."

SERIES SCHEDULE

Here's the schedule for the Catherwood Cup:

  • Friday, March 5; Mount Royal @ UBC; 8 p.m. MT
  • Saturday, March 6; Mount Royal @ UBC; 8 p.m. MT
  • Sunday, March 7; Mount Royal @ UBC; 4 p.m. MT

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