Pandas shutout Cougars to earn sweep

Pandas shutout Cougars to earn sweep

EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Pandas hockey team completed the home-and-home sweep of Mount Royal, shutting out the Cougars 1-0 on Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena. The win was the third straight for the Pandas, and improves their record to 4-4-0-0, while the loss drops MRU to 2-5-0-1 on the season. 

Rookie forward Alex Poznikoff was the lone goal scorer for Alberta, while fourth-year goalie Lindsey Post stopped all 20 shots she faced to earn her first shutout of the season. Sophomore Emma Pincott made 23 saves in goal for the Cougars, in her fourth start of the season. 

After coming off a 2-1 win in Calgary the previous night, the Alberta Pandas started Saturday night's game slow, as they only mustered five shots in the opening 15 minutes.  Third-year forward Deanna Morin had the best opportunities for Alberta in the opening frame, but all three of her chances from the side of the net were kept out by Pincott.

 The second period was much of the same for both squads, as neither team was able to create many offensive chances. The best opportunity for the Cougars came midway through the frame, as they had an extended five-one-three powerplay, but were unable to capitalize on the player advantage. 

Alberta finally cracked open the scoresheet in the final eight minutes of the third period. Poznikoff found herself alone with the puck beside the Cougar net, and riffled a shot just under the bar, and over Pincott's shoulder to record her fifth goal of the season.  The Cougars pressed late for the equalizer, but a Rachel Piitz diving penalty in the final two minutes ended any hope of a comeback for the visitors. The win was the 14th all-time for Alberta over MRU, and extended their record to a perfect 14-0.

The game wasn't only important in the standings, but also marked a significant milestone for Alberta head coach Howie Draper. The game was Draper's 600th career game behind the Pandas bench, as he now boasts a 475-115-10 lifetime coaching record.

After the loss, the Cougars will now set their sights on another provincial foe, as they host the 6-1-0-0 Lethbridge Pronghorns in a home-and home series next weekend. The Pandas, meanwhile, stay at home as they host the 5-2-0-0 Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday and Saturday night.