Returning for a sixth year, the opportunity represented many rewards for Regina Cougars captain Lilla Carpenter-Boesch. Although the decision required a degree of reflection during the offseason, once onboard, the level of commitment and character employed set an empowering tone.
Wearing the number 17, the highly skilled forward finished as the Cougars leading scorer, recording a career best 19 points. Tying for the Canada West lead with 10 goals, Carpenter-Boesch enjoyed a six-game scoring streak from October 22 to November 6. The results of her stellar efforts not only propelled the Cougars into the postseason, she gained Team MVP honors.
Also a finalist for the University of Regina’s Female Athlete of the Year Award, another aspect of acclaim involved recognition as a 2022 Canada West All-Star. Undoubtedly, the feelings of pride and validation accentuated the greatest achievement of her brilliant Cougars career. With teammates Arden Kliewer and Megan Long earning a place on the All-Rookie Team, both found a positive example and valued mentor in the celebrated captain.
“For me it was a huge honor, but it also allowed me to recognized (for) all the hard work I put in the past year. I had a lot of things to improve upon as a person and a player.
I knew I had a long way to go as I decided late into the summer that I would return to complete my sixth year and final year of eligibility.
In the end, being named a Canada West All Star prompted me to reflect and give myself credit, as I had to overcome a lot of difficult moments and challenges to become the athlete and person I am now.
For a long time, I would not let myself be satisfied or overly content with myself or a performance, but being a first star is a huge accomplishment and I am very proud of myself and my performance this season.”
Cementing her legacy in a series of epic back-to-back performances versus the Manitoba Bisons on February 4-5 2022, Carpenter-Boesch led the way as offensive catalyst. Trailing by a 2-0 mark in each game, the dual comebacks took on a very emotional tone.
Amassing three points in the opening match, both of the goals scored by Carpenter-Boesch were crucial in providing momentum. Scoring at the 17:57 mark of the first, her goal trimmed the Bisons lead by one. After the Cougars grabbed the lead in the second period, she put the game out of reach. Capitalizing on a power play opportunity in the third, with Leggett and Ireland Sorestad earning the assists, Sorestad and Carpenter-Boesch would collaborate once again, assisting on the game’s final goal for a 5-2 win.
The February 5 affair, which also happened to be Senior Night, resulted in another valiant effort. Rising to the occasion once again, Carpenter-Boesch supplied another heroic effort that allowed the Cougars to triumph. With the Bisons enjoying a two-goal advantage after one period of play, she placed her name on the scoresheet at the 13:12 mark of the second.
Less than two minutes into the final frame, Carpenter-Boesch tied the score, as Heather Fiske earned her second assist of the night. Instilling the belief that another win was possible, a power play opportunity allowed the Cougars to take the lead for good, as Jordan Kulbida scored her biggest goal of the season in a 3-2 win. Recognized as the Canada West women’s ice hockey Player of the Week on February 8, the memories made were just as cherished as the honour itself,
“That weekend was definitely special as those games were obviously crucial for us if we wanted a chance to make the playoffs. In the moment, I did not realize how important those games were, as I tried to not stress too much about it.
Looking back now, it was pretty incredible that I was able to score two important goals in each of those games for my team, so that is definitely a highlight for me.”
Just as prevalent for a jubilant Carpenter-Boesch involved one of the most inspiring games in program history. Defined by unity and an indomitable spirit, a January 14 road affair versus the archrival Saskatchewan Huskies resulted in the addition of a compelling chapter in program lore.
With only 13 players available due to pandemic protocols, this distinguished group of courageous Cougars put forth an admirable effort. Overcoming the odds, scoring thrice in the final frame, a 4-1 triumph, their ninth of the season, served as their finest hour.
Fittingly, Carpenter-Boesch scored the game winning tally. With a 1-1 tie after two periods of play, scoring on Huskies star goaltender Camryn Drever served as the turning point, shifting the momentum in the Cougars favour.
Joining Carpenter-Boesch among the forwards in this highly emotional contest, included Lauren Focht, who logged a goal and an assist. Kaylee Dyer, Heather Fiske, Raea Gilroy, Paige Hubbard, Jordan Kulbida, Makena Kushniruk and Charly Lindberg were the other forwards.
Patrolling the blueline featured the likes of Jordyn Blais and Olivia Leggett, who scored a goal each. Also on the blueline were Adela Juzkova and Hannah Pennell. Amassing 3four saves between the pipes, Kliewer emerged as a key factor in the victory, while Natalie Williamson served as backup goaltender.
“The game we won 4-1 against U of S in January with only 12 players eligible to play was also a huge highlight as the majority of our team was out with Covid-19.
We had to find a way to win short numbered. The energy after that win was incredible, everyone worked so hard and worked for each other, it was a great team win.”
Having first garbed the Cougars paraphernalia in the autumn of 2016, the journey proved to be one filled with enjoyment. Finding a second family, all bonded by a mutual love of hockey, Carpenter-Boesch made a powerful first impression.
Debuting versus the Mount Royal Cougars on October 7, 2016, Carpenter-Boesch recorded a goal and an assist. Leading all scorers, Chelsea Hallson logged the assist on her first goal, part of a 4-1 win.
Fittingly, family also played a key role in her freshman campaign. Skating against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, who tied the Canada West record for most wins in a season, a familiar face found on the opposition.
In her fifth season for UBC, Jenna Carpenter Boesch, studying in the Faculty of Science, logged eight points. One of those points took place during the first meeting between the sisters, a November 18, 2016 affair in Vancouver, as Jenna logged an assist on a third period goal by Celine Tardif.
Four fantastic regular season games between UBC and the Cougars in 2016-17 saw both sisters grace the ice. In addition to the two-game November series in Vancouver, a strong sense of homecoming defined the February 3-4 series in Regina.
Although UBC swept the season series, Lilla earned an assist in each home game. In addition, Jenna and her UBC teammates enjoyed an outing, visiting her hometown rink in the tiny hamlet of Grey, adding to the theme of homecoming on a magical weekend for both sisters.
“I love playing hockey so much because of the people I get to play with, and even against, as I was able to play against my own sister from UBC as a rookie.”
That social element, making connections with people through a shared love of the game shall stand as one of the hallmarks for Carpenter-Boesch. Beyond the ebbs and flows of the game, the small details took on just as much relevance, finding a cherished value.
Always bringing strong leadership and a commendable work ethic to the rink, the heights reached in such an accomplished season are poised to inspire future Cougars skaters. Proudly belonging to a highly talented generation of skilled skaters hailing from Saskatchewan, the chance to shine in her home province holds a feeling of empowering achievement, built on the foundation of enjoyment.
“The people I have met and played with throughout my six years. I have made many friendships and have shared so many amazing experiences with so many incredible people of all different ages.
When I think of the specific moments I enjoyed, they were always the little things: the road trips and chats in the hotel room with whoever was my roomie for the weekend. The moments after a win where everyone is happy, smiling and singing.
The ability of my teammates to make light of a situation such as our bus breaking down for the second time in a single trip in some town we did not know the name of.
Those moments were so unique, but so special and playing hockey with the Cougars was so enjoyable because of the people that came to the rink everyday.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”