Pandas KO’d by KC in OT

Pandas KO’d by KC in OT

EDMONTON – Utilizing her skills in the Pandas' kitchen, senior forward Kandace Cook found the recipe for victory again between the No.4 University of Alberta Pandas and University of Saskatchewan Huskies, scoring the winner 33 seconds into double overtime for a 2-1 victory, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena.

Recording the winner in two of the last three games between the squads, the Saskatoon, Sask. native has scored three goals and four points over that same span while sophomore forward Kaitlin Willoughby scored the other goal for the visitors. Third-year netminder Cassidy Hendricks made 32 saves for her 12th win of the season.

Moving the game to extra time was rookie forward Hannah Olenyk's lone goal for the home team while third-year 'tender Lindsey Post made 18 saves in the loss.

Yet the Pandas still earn a point to remain in sole possession of first place in the conference standings, one point up on the Manitoba Bisons and three points up on third-place UBC by the end of Saturday night's action. The Huskies use their two-point win to stay ahead of surging Regina, only one point behind Saskatchewan for fifth-place in Canada West.

Quick scoring was not on tap tonight like it was on Friday, the two squads leaving the first period with zeroes on the scoreboard, despite Alberta outshooting the Huskies 12-4 in the opening frame.

Under pressure to lead the team offensively with scoring leader Jessica Kampjes on her way to Spain to play for Team Canada, Deanna Morin had the first great chance with just under seven minutes left in the second period when she rushed up the wing, deked deftly around fourth-year forward Marley Ervine to gain more open ice, but met the pads of Hendricks.

Entering the game on a three-game point streak, Willoughby scored the first goal at the 16:35 mark on the power-play, shooting low blocker on Post off a rush play for her ninth goal of the season.

Equalizing didn't come easy, but the Pandas hit common ground when third-year defender Hannah Mousek streaked down the left wing and threw a pass from the sideboards in front of the Huskie net where Olenyk redirected, squeezing the puck through Hendricks' pads before it trickled over the goal line for the 1-1 score.

Not wanting to let Regina get ahead in the standings, their Saturday game finishing in the afternoon, Saskatchewan pressed hard in the final minutes of the third period for the three-point win, Ervine getting a great chance alone in front if it wasn't for the puck getting lost in her skates and fourth-year rearguard Hanna McGillivray had a chance to end things with time winding down but her shot in the final second hit Post's left pad to bring things to overtime.

Kicking herself for not burying the best chance in the first overtime, Olenyk had a breakaway from center ice on Hendricks with 3:52 left, but the Cochrane, Alta. native shot a few feet over the net, leaving the teams tied before the short-lived second overtime.

Leading with two forwards in three-on-three play, while Alberta went with two defenders, seemed to be a poor decision when the Pandas got the puck into the Huskie zone and Morin outmuscling a tired McGillivray to the net, but Hendricks held her ground on a Natasha Steblin shot from the faceoff dot and a Willoughby block on Mousek's shot led to a two-on-one to the other end, Cook wristing the puck through Post's blocker side for the thrilling, bench-clearing victory.

Saskatchewan finished 1-3 on the power-play while Alberta went 0-3.

Crystallizing their place in the standings may just come down to the final weekend, but the Pandas will do what they can against a struggling Calgary squad next week in a home-and-home series while the Huskies will head to Lethbridge for a two-game series against the Pronghorns.