Panda's Top line keeps rolling against Huskies

Panda's Top line keeps rolling against Huskies

EDMONTON – For the second-straight game, the top line of Alison Campbell, Deanna Morin, and Jessica Kampjes were crucial for victory, the No.4 University of Alberta Pandas beating the Saskatchewan Huskies by a 4-1 score, Friday night at Clare Drake Arena.

The trio had five points after a 10-point effort last Saturday, Campbell and Morin both netting a goal and an assist each while Kampjes chipped in with a helper for her team-leading 25th point of the season. Rookie forward Hannah Olenyk and fourth-year forward Gillian Altheim scored singles.

Former Brown University student Lauren Zary tallied the lone goal for the visitors, Saskatchewan dropping to 8-3-9-3 on the season and holding the fifth-place spot but sixth-place Regina gained some ground with a comeback OT victory against Calgary.

The now 16-1-6-0 Pandas stay ahead of second-place Manitoba, both squads winning in regulation on Friday to gain a full three points apiece.

Taking advantage of an early power-play, the Huskies got on the board first, scoring on the rush when sophomore forward Kaitlin Willoughby made a drop pass back into the Alberta slot where Zary shot high glove side for the 1-0 lead at the 3:42 mark of the opening frame.

The goal broke netminder Lindsey Post's shutout streak, having just passed over 150 minutes, but her teammates responded immediately, needing only 34 seconds to equalize when Olenyk tipped the puck in the slot to trickle through the five-hole of third-year goalie Cassidy Hendricks.

With 3:18 left in the first period, the Pandas took the lead when Alberta defender Hannah Mousek passed the puck into the Saskatchewan slot, getting lost in Morin's feet, but the former St. Albert Slash found it and threw a backhander towards the net, Campbell getting a stick on it to flip the puck over Hendricks' pad and into the goal.

The top-ranked Panda defence then when into full shutdown mode in the second stanza, limiting the road team to only one shot over 20 minutes, despite two man-advantage opportunities and the home team only putting seven shots on goal at the other end.

Risking a possible tie game as the match continued into the final frame, Alberta claimed insurance at the 9:45 mark when Campbell fed Morin, finding a wide open lane to the Huskie net before slapping the puck past Hendricks for her fourth goal in two games.

Altheim added an empty-netter with 24.2 seconds left on the clock to finalize proceedings and give the Pandas their eighth-straight win.

Alberta finished 0-5 on the power-play while Saskatchewan went 1-5.

Game two of the weekend series goes Saturday at 6 p.m. MT at Clare Drake Arena.