Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON – The No. 7 University of Alberta Pandas earned their 11th-straight win, sweeping the visiting No.4 Manitoba Bisons with a 2-1 win, Saturday afternoon at Clare Drake Arena.
Amy Boucher and Lisa Lloyd scored for the victorious Pandas on Saturday, while Alanna Sharman scored the lone Bison goal. Lindsey Post stopped 12 of the 13 shots she faced in her final conference game, while Rachel Dyck earned a third star with a 24 save performance.
With all of the Canada West playoff scenarios set before puck drop, all that was left undecided was how each team would enter the post-season. The Pandas, by virtue of their 5-2 win the previous night, had already clinched the second seed in Canada West and a first round playoff 'bye'.
Despite the loss the previous night, the Bisons came out as the aggressors on Saturday, opening the scoring seven minutes into the first period. Sharman scored one of the nicest goals at Clare Drake Arena this season, blowing past Panda defender Lindsay Weech, before sliding the puck past Post with a gorgeous forehand-backhand deke in tight.
The goal seemed to spark the Pandas however, not the Bisons, as Alberta turned on the gas near the end of the first and into the second. However, it was the stellar play of Dyck that kept the game at 1-0. Dyck's first test was a nifty play between Sasha Lutz and Autumn MacDougall, but MacDougall was unable to score on her glorious chance from the slot. Soon after, Boucher was robbed on a partial break.
Boucher would finally capitalize on the Pandas chances late in the second with her 10th of the season. Cayle Dillon set the play up with a perfect stretch pass to Erica Nelson, who in turn fed it cross-ice to a streaking Boucher, as she beat Dyck high blocker side.
The Pandas dominance offensively carried over into the third, with the home-side eventually outshooting the Bisons 26-13. Lloyd would get the game-winner, and her third goal of the weekend, midway through the third period. With the puck loose near the Manitoba net, Hannah Fouillard fed a pass on one knee to Lloyd, who beat a helpless Dyck from just outside the Bison crease.
The Bisons were unable to generate any momentum, chances, or any real shots down by one, eventually falling by the 2-1 score-line.
The Bisons, now 16-7-3-2, will host the Mount Royal Cougars next weekend in one of two Canada West quarterfinal series. The Pandas, meanwhile, will be in action next on February 24th, as they host a conference semi-final series at home.