Pandas drop third straight on home ice

Pandas drop third straight on home ice

EDMONTON – The eighth ranked University of Alberta Pandas' struggles on home ice continued, as they dropped a nail biting 3-2 decision to the visiting Regina Cougars at Clare Drake Arena on Friday night. 

The Cougars were led by fourth-year forward Meghan Sherven and sophomore Caitlin Dempsey, while Canada West points leader Emma Waldenberger added to her total with her seventh goal of the season to push the Cougars to the win. Alberta received contributions from a pair of rookies in Autumn MacDougall and Alex Poznikoff, but went 0-3 on the powerplay, and gave up five player advantages to Regina. 

The Pandas started the game strong, using their team speed to hem the Cougars in their own zone, and outshoot the visitors 10-3 in the opening frame. However, they were unable to get any shots behind fourth-year goalie Toni Ross, who opened the game making her first 16 saves overall. Poznikoff had the best opportunity for Alberta, but her shot from the side of the net slid harmlessly through the Regina crease. 

The Cougars would open the scoring in the opening four minutes of the second period. Sherven was able to beat her defender to the puck off the dump-in, and her backhand shovel shot from the faceoff circle floated over Lindsey Post's shoulder. The Cougars had a much stronger second period compared to the first, as they flipped the switch on the shot clock, outshooting the Pandas 14-9. However, Alberta would find the equalizer halfway through the second period, as MacDougall received the pass from behind the Cougars goal line, and slide her backhand shot through Toni Ross' pads. 

Unfortunately for the Pandas, Regina continued their strong second period as they grabbed the momentum by scoring in the final minute of the period. Post stopped the initial point shot from Sherven, but Waldenberger used her size terrifically in front of the net to block out the defenders, and popped in the rebound. 

Poznikoff's strong play finally showed up on the scoreboard in the third period, as she grabbed the pass off the Panda cycle, walked into the slot, and made no mistake with her wrist shot to even the game at two. But with only six minutes remaining, and Regan Wright in the box for hooking, Dempsey wired a wrist shot over Post's shoulder on the powerplay for her second goal of the season, and the game winner. 

The win was the fourth overall for the Cougars (3-1-1-0), and moves them into second place in the conference. The Pandas, meanwhile, dropped their third straight at home, and fourth game overall, to fall to 1-4 and in last place in the conference. These two teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon, as they pick up right where they left off at 2:00 p.m. at Clare Drake Arena.