EDMONTON – Sophomore forward Deanna Morin earned her first-ever hat trick with the No.5 University of Alberta Pandas, the home team winning by a 6-0 score over the Mount Royal University Cougars in the second game of a home-and-home series, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena.
Morin and her linemates, Jessica Kampjes (one goal, three assists) and Alison Campbell (three helpers), combined for 10 points on the night while rookie Hannah Olenyk and second-year Jessica Sekulic added single tallies.
Third-year netminder Lindsey Post quietly earned her ninth shutout of the season for Alberta, recording her fourth shutout in her last six games.
At the other end of the ice, the Pandas didn't waste any time getting on the scoreboard, Kampjes getting her team-leading 13th of the season 45 seconds into the game by shooting a laserbeam into the top right corner, her sniping slapshot coming from the top of the left faceoff circle.
With 1:42 left in the opening frame, Campbell found Morin in the Cougar slot for the 2-0 lead, the former St. Albert Slash firing it through the five-hole of freshman netminder Emma Pincott.
Morin got her second of the game at the 8:40 mark of the middle frame, taking another Campbell pass in the slot and one-timing her wrister over Pincott's left pad.
Yet the top offence in Canada West wasn't stopping there, Olenyk firing a howitzer to the top left corner at the 10:04 mark while Sekulic netted a tap-in inside the near post at 12:12, chasing Pincott from the Mount Royal goal, the starter replaced by fourth-year Jess Ross, who came into the weekend with a .928 save percentage in January.
Though the Calgary native stopped the first two shots she faced, the rebound on the second, a Natasha Steblin point shot, went straight to Morin, who completed the hat trick and put the final nail in the coffin for a much-needed win to keep Alberta atop the conference standings.
With three weeks left to go in the regular season, it's still a tight race for the first four spots in Canada West, but the Pandas' sweep of Mount Royal gives them a two-point lead on second-place Manitoba and a five-point cushion on Calgary and UBC.
Alberta finished 0-2 on the power-play while the Cougars went 0-4.
The Pandas remain at home next weekend to host the Saskatchewan Huskies while Mount Royal will head east to face off against the Manitoba Bisons.