Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

COUGAR’S GOT CLAWS – YT Cougars’ Camie Matteau Rushbrook sends a puck towards Storm goalie Alex Kieren during the Women’s Division final against the AFN/CAFN Storm at Takhini Arena in Whitehorse Sunday. The Cougars gained redemption for a loss to the Storm in last year’s final. Matteau Rushbrook sniped the winning goal for the Cougars.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

VERY CLOSE CALL – Cougar goalie Alexandra Nelson looks at a puck that has just squeaked through her legs sitting beyond the goal line during a third period Storm power play while Cougar captain Krystal McKenna looks on. A goal would have knotted the game at 3.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

COUGAR POWER – The 2024 Women’s Division champion YT Cougars.

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Photo by Photo Submitted

COUGAR COUNTRY – Young Cougar fans show their sup­port for Cougars Tshayla Nothstein, 88 and Adrianne De­whurst, 94. Rylie Boutillier is on the left and Tanner Boutill­ier is on the right.

Cougars earn redemption in Native Hockey Tourney rematch

The YT Cougars earned redemption in the 2024 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament’s Women’s Division.

By Morris Prokop on March 27, 2024

The YT Cougars earned redemption in the 2024 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament’s Women’s Division.

The Cougars edged the AFN/CAFN Storm 3-2 in a dramatic comeback win.

They had lost the 2023 final to the Storm by a humbling 4-0 score.

Davina McLeod opened the scoring for the Storm only 42 seconds into the game.

Krya McDonald scored on a breakaway with 6:29 left in the first to put the Storm up 2-0.

That score held until the end of the first period.

The Cougars Angela Epp scored 2:42 into the second to cut the Storm’s lead in half.

There was no more scoring in the second and the Storm went into their dressing room with a 2-1 lead after two periods.

The trend of early goals continued in the third period as the Cougars’ Piper Fordham tied it up only 1:48 into the third.

The Cougars took the lead at 6:23 of the third on a goal by Camie Matteau Rushbrook.

The Storm tried in vain to get the equalizer, despite a power play in the first half of the period. During the Storm advantage, a shot squeaked through Cougar Goalie Alex Nelson’s legs but didn’t make it over the line and was swatted out of harm’s way by Cougar captain Krystal McKenna. Of note, there was a quick whistle on the play.

After their victory, McKenna exclaimed, “Oh my God! It’s so exciting.

So, so fun.

“It was fast hockey and I’m not used to it, but I’m so happy to be here.” McKenna added, “It was great.

Everybody over there on that Storm team is incredible. They’re hard workers. We were lucky. I was lucky,

I should say. We had some nice young skaters here to keep us on the up. It was incredible.”

McKenna acknowledged that her team seemed to control a lot of the play throughout the game.

“We’ve got some good skaters here. They’re good passers, they’re hard workers. Incredible group of ladies.” McKenna agreed that the Cougars really used their speed to move the puck up the ice.

“They’re good with controlling the puck and getting pucks on net.” Mckenna said redemption felt incredible.

“They’re a solid team, so this feels really, really good.” McKenna said the key to victory was getting pucks on the net, working hard and playing the body.

When asked how she felt when they were down 2-0, McKenna replied,

“I was a little concerned.”

But once they got their first goal, according to McKenna, it was “game over.”

She added, “I’m just so happy to be here and so thankful for all the board members that put this tournament together. It’s so, so incredible to see all these people here and getting to see people we haven’t seen for a long time and it’s such a great, incredible atmosphere.”

Three Cougars won individual Women’s Division awards.

Kyra McDonald was top scorer.

Piper Fordham was tops on defence.

Alexandra Nelson was named best goalie.

The Storm’s Davina McLeod was named Women’s Division MVP.

The other division winners were as follows:

A Division: LJ’s Sabres.

B Division: K&D Outlaws

C Division: Kwanlin Dün Predators

Oldtimers Division: CAFN Bruins

Youth Division: Fort Nelson Bears

Jamboree A Division: North Yukon Eagles

Jamboree B Division: JMB Thunder

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