REGINA, Sask. - The University of Regina women's hockey team fell 2-1 to the Alberta Pandas in a defensive battle at The Co-operators Centre on Friday evening.
Hannah Olenyk and Alex Poznikoff were able to score for the visitors, who were outshot by the Cougars 17-15 on the night. Alexis Larson (pictured) scored her third of the season in response for the home team.
Both defences were on point on Friday, with neither team achieving double-digit shots on net in any period. Toni Ross made 13 saves in the loss, with Lindsey Post stopping 16 shots for her 10th win.
The Pandas didn't take long to break the scoreless tie, as a shot from Olenyk beat a heavily screened Ross past the right pad just over two and a half minutes in. Ashley Morin and Deanna Morin assisted on the marker, Olenyk's first of the Canada West season.
Alberta had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 shortly after killing off a Cougars powerplay, but Ashley Morin's wrist shot rung off the crossbar and floated over the end boards. Regina would find iron as well just a few minutes later, as Jaycee Magwood dropped a pass into the slot for Larson. Larson ripped a wrist shot that beat Post high but rang off the bar. Ashley Morin would find the crossbar one more time before the period ended. After two great moves to get around Cougar defenders, her backhanded attempt rang off the bar, and the Alberta lead remained 1-0 after the opening frame.
The Cougars would beat Post just over halfway through the middle stanza, as Caitlin Dempsey's hard work along the boards won her the puck. Dempsey sent it back to the point where Larson put a one-timer towards the net. Larson's attempt caught an Alberta stick on its way towards the net and took a funny bounce, beating Post over her glove-side shoulder to tie the game 1-1.
Poznikoff would put the Pandas back in front midway through the third, as Lindsey Cunningham poked a loose puck to her in the neutral zone and Poznikoff did the rest. The rookie forward used her speed to get into the Cougars zone and went untouched around two Regina defenders. She faked middle on Toni Ross and went back to the first post, tucking the puck away to put Alberta ahead 2-1.
The Cougars couldn't muster much of an attack in hopes of finding the equalizer, and after a Stephanie Sawchuk boarding penalty, the Pandas were able to play keep-away and seal the win.
The rematch will take place on Saturday afternoon, with puck drop scheduled for 3 p.m. at The Co-operators Centre.