Mount Royal University’s women’s hockey team was eliminated after losing to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the Canada West Playoffs on March 5.  

Despite the loss, four women on the team received awards given by Canada West. In all, the Cougars won two thirds of the major conference player awards.

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Tianna Ko was named Player of the Year. When announcing her as the winner of the award, Canada West said she stands out for her “unshakeable pace and tenacity” and for being “relentless on the puck.” She led the team in goals, four of them being game-winners. 

Ko is the first MRU Cougar to ever win the award.

“Her relentlessness created all kinds of opportunities for herself and her teammates and it was great to see her get rewarded the way she was in her final year,” said her head coach Scott Rivett in a Canada West press release.

Another award-winner on the team was Zoe De Beauville. She was honoured as goaltender of the year after registering five shutouts. She put up a .942 save percentage on the season and dropped a 31-save game on the heads of the University of Calgary Dinos.

De Beauville led the Cougars to the highest save percentage in the league. To top it off, MRU didn’t lose a single regular season game with her between the pipes.

“She was always there to make the big save when we needed it and she never wavered,” said Rivett in a press release.

Forward Anna Purschke was recognized with the Student-Athlete Community Service Award for the second time in her post-secondary career. She spends time coaching for Special Olympics Snowshoeing.

“I have never been around anyone as selfless as Anna and we were fortunate enough to have her in our program for 6 years,” said Rivett in a press release. “We are all better people because of it.”

Rivett was awarded Coach of the Year and has been with the Cougars for more than a decade. His dedication and perseverance have led him to win this honour on four separate occasions.

Additionally, Tianna Ko, Mackenzie Butz and Zoe De Beauville were all named Canada West first team all-stars along with Courtney Kollman being the fourth all-star for Mount Royal, making the second team. In her third year, Kollman led the team in points with 19.

#8 Tianna Ko celebrating during a game against the Trinity Western Spartans. PHOTO: Adrian Shellard

Butz was fifth on the team in scoring with 12 points, the highest-scoring defender on the roster.

After finishing fourth in the Canada West regular season standings in 2019-2020, the Cougars women’s hockey team surpassed all expectations to come in first place this year. Mount Royal finished with a record of 16 wins, two losses and two overtime losses for 34 points.

The Cougars were going into the semifinals series against the Huskies confident as they beat them in both of their two meetings in the regular season. However, after dropping game one 1-0 and the second game 2-1 in overtime, they ultimately lost. The Huskies were led to victory by their goaltender Kaitlyn Drever who tallied a total of 85 saves in the two semifinal games.

“We set records and program firsts, but ultimately we fell short of the goal we wanted to achieve this season,” said Rivett in a press release.

Even if this wasn’t the desired outcome for the Cougars, this team displayed great improvement and determination throughout the season. This gives hockey fans a lot to look forward to next year.

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Marco is a fourth-year Journalism & Digital Media student and one of the Newsletter editors for the Calgary Journal. Marco successfully completed an internship as a reporter at Airdrie City View newspaper.

Matthew Loewen is a journalism student at Mount Royal University with a love for telling stories about sports and entertainment