Canada West: Regina’s strong start

Why you should keep an eye on the Regina Cougars.

Not normally part of the contender conversation, the Regina Cougars have changed the narrative this season. Their 4-2-1-1 start puts them at fourth in the Canada West rankings, but there are several reasons why the Cougars could be moving up soon.

The Cougars have already played all three of Canada West’s top-ranked teams and split the series in each instance. They are in a better position to climb the ranks when they play weaker squads, all with the confidence boost from splitting multiple series against the conference’s best.

Exceptional individual performances are strong contributing factors for the team’s recent success. Goaltender Jane Kish has won four of her five starts and earned a 0.942 save percentage and a 1.74 goals against average. Kish’s small frame belies her athleticism and her ability to force shooters into taking safe, stoppable shots.

Contributing in front of Kish are veterans Bailey Braden and Jaycee Magwood. Both forwards have four goals and three assists and both are among the top five scorers in the Canada West, with Braden on pace to set a new career high for points. They are joined by forward Jordan Kulbida, a rookie currently in eighth place in the scoring race.

The Cougars combine speed, size and agility. The defense plays a physical game that smothers the opposition. They move the puck up the ice quickly, keep their sticks active and win board battles. The entire team moves through the neutral zone and easily shrugs away opposition defenders. Regina’s strong results early in the season bode well for future success.

The Cougars return to action on Nov. 10 against the Manitoba Bisons.