Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
Lethbridge – Having been officially eliminated from post-season contention last weekend, the Lethbridge Pronghorns attempted to play spoiler with the seventh ranked Alberta Pandas and despite giving the Pandas fits, dropped a 4-2 decision tonight.
Entering the weekend, the Pandas were tied with the Manitoba Bisons for second place in Canada West and the second spot is a coveted one as the holder receives a first round bye and home ice for the Canada West semi-final. The win moves the Pandas to 18-4-2-1 and keep pace with the Bisons, who beat the Saskatchewan Huskies 3-0 tonight in Winnipeg.
The loss drops the Pronghorns record to 4-18-3-0.
Pronghorns' goaltender Alicia Anderson added to her conference leading save total with a 29 save performance, while her counterpart Lindsay Post stopped 23 shots to earn the victory.
The Pandas opened the scoring just before the 12 minute mark. During a wild goal mouth scramble, Alicia Anderson and defender Jodie Gentile stopped consecutive Panda shots but Lindsay Weech snuck in from her point position and chipped the puck up and over Anderson.
In the dying seconds of the opening stanza, the Pronghorns tied the score with Mattie Apperson grabbing a rebound in front and banged home her second of the season.
In an evenly played opening period, the Pandas outshot the Pronghorns 12-10.
For the first half of the second period, the Pronghorns found themselves in penalty trouble, taking three consecutive minor penalties, but Anderson was sharp and the Pronghorn penalty killers did a solid job limiting the Pandas quality opportunities. The Pandas had the first nine shots of the period.
However, the Pandas would go back out in front with just over five minutes remaining in the second. Off a broken two-on-one, Deanna Morin's pass attempt ricocheted off a Pronghorn defender's skate and right to Morgan Burr, who had an empty net to pot her first ever Canada West goal.
Late in the period, the Pronghorns would finally get a power play of their own in the period and despite some good pressure and zone time, they were unable to find the equalizer before the second period horn sounded.
After going 24 games without a goal or point, Burr continued her big night offensively, picking up her second of the night and giving the Pandas a two goal lead with just over 13 minutes to play. Burr drove to the net hard and Jesse Olfert's shot was stopped by Anderson, but the rebound bounced off Burr and in.
Pronghorns continued to push but couldn't get one past Post, and with the 'Horns goalie pulled with more than two minutes to play, Ashley Morin picked up her second of the season into the empty net.
Even down 4-1, the Pronghorns didn't have any quit in them tonight and on a late power play Sarah Spence picked up her fourth of the season to cut the deficit to 4-2 but the Pronghorns would run out of time.
The Pronghorns will play their final home game of the season tomorrow afternoon, hosting the Pandas again, puck drop is slated for 3:00pm.