Defensive duel highlights 1-0 Alberta win

Defensive duel highlights 1-0 Alberta win

EDMONTON – Featuring the two best defences in the conference, if not the nation, the No.3 University of Alberta Pandas scored a late goal to squeak out a 1-0 win against the University of Manitoba Bisons, Friday night at Clare Drake Arena.

Jessica Kampjes, recently named to the Canadian women's hockey roster for the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain, scored the winner with only 4:40 left to go in the game while third-year netminder Lindsey Post earned her second consecutive shutout with a 21-save performance. The native of Chelsea, Que. now has five on the season and 13 in her career.

Coming into the game with the best goals against average and save percentage in Canada West, as well as top five in both categories in CIS, Manitoba goaltender Rachel Dyck made 18 saves in the loss.

Despite getting outshot 11-6, the visitors had the best chances in the opening frame, sophomore forward Alana Serhan finding herself alone in front but Post stymied her point-blank opportunity before facing rookie sensation Alanna Sharman 30 seconds later, the Pandas getting caught on a bad line change before Post got her blocker in the way of Sharman's slapshot to keep the game deadlocked at zero.

Another shot in tight in the final minute by third-year rearguard Jayden Skoleski found the bottom of Post's left pad, the Bisons controlling most of the play in the first period, but unable to get the opening tally.

The two squads then went into full defensive mode in the middle stanza, both forwards and defenders getting in on the shot-block brigade, allowing only a combined 12 shots find their way to the goalies, none of them becoming a great scoring chance.

With goose eggs on the scoreboard to enter the final frame, Kampjes and fellow Canadian women's hockey roster nominee, Tess Houston, had a two-on-one with 12:30 left to go, but in front of Bison head coach Jon Rempel, who is also coaching the two in Spain come February, Houston missed the pass to go in alone, giving Rempel and his road squad one last hope for victory.

Yet Kampjes, the second-leading scorer in Canada West before tonight's action, ended the defensive juggernaut at the 15:20 mark of the third period, however, catching up to a loose puck in the Bison zone just beyond the faceoff dot and slapping it top shelf to the far side for her eighth of the season.

Although the Bisons won the shot clock by the end of the match, outshooting the home team 21-19, they couldn't muster a game-tying goal in the final minutes, Alberta's top-ranked defence shutting down anything resembling an offensive opportunity.

The Pandas finished the night 0-2 on the power-play while the Bisons went 0-4.

The two teams will meet again in the second game of the weekend, puck drop going at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday.