EDMONTON – For the third time in their last five games at Clare Drake Arena, the University of Regina Cougars came out with a 2-1 win, giving the No.4 University of Alberta Pandas their first loss of the season on Saturday afternoon.
Third-year forwards Natasha Kostenko and Kylie Gavelin, who netted the game-winner, earned tallies for the visitors, while fourth-year netminder Toni Ross made 27 saves in the victory.
Scoring in her third-straight game, fourth-year forward Alison Campbell had the lone goal for the home team, third-year 'keeper Lindsey Post making 22 saves in the loss.
Making up for Friday night's 7-1 loss, the Cougars came out strong in the earlygoing, getting rewarded with a few power-play opportunities for their efforts but Kanata, Ont. native Tori Head could not put home a glorious opportunity when a rebound off the backboards came right to her at the side of the net.
Staring at a wide open net, she fanned on her shot and missed on another empty cage attempt a few minutes later, giving Alberta the chance to get the opening goal on their own man-advantage.
Despite intense offensive pressure and four shots on goal, the Pandas couldn't find the back of the net and soon after the power-play ended, Kostenko and sophomore forward Bailey Braden earned a two-on-one, Braden making a soft feed over to Kostenko for the perfect one-timer over top of a sprawling Post for the 1-0 lead at the 17:50 mark of the first period.
Alberta almost replied on a double-minor to Head late in the first period, but the puck was ruled as kicked in by last night's first star of the game, Hannah Olenyk, leaving the score 1-0 for the visitors after 20 minutes.
The second period featured three more extra-man opportunities for the Pandas, but they struggled with finding a consistent attack before Regina made no mistake on their power-play chance late in the middle stanza, a rebound off a slapshot from the point by Carleen Meszaros finding Gavelin right on the doorstep to make it 2-0 for the Cougars with 1:42 left in the frame. Gavelin has now scored in three straight games.
Campbell got that one back early in the final 20 minutes, however, when she walked out from the corner on an Alberta man-advantage, roofing it shortside to cut the deficit to one with just over 18 minutes left in the game.
The top Panda line of Hannah Olenyk, Jessica Kampjes, and Deanna Morin, who combined for 21 points in Alberta's last two games, were held shotless as the game wound down and a stingy Regina defence allowed only five shots on goal, leading the way to the road team's victory.
The Pandas finished the night 1-7 on the power-play while the Cougars went 1-4.
Alberta will head out on the road next weekend to face off against the Saskatchewan Huskies while Regina heads home to host the Calgary Dinos.