U SPORTS Communications
NAPANEE, Ont. – The No.6 Alberta Pandas knocked off the No.3 Saint Mary's Huskies 2-1 in the third quarter-final for the first upset of the 2017 U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship at Napanee's Strathcona Paper Centre.
The Pandas now advance to semifinal Saturday, where they will meet the winner of No.2 Guelph and No.7 Concordia in a primetime 7 p.m. ET showdown. Saint Mary's slides to the consolation side of the tournament, where they will meet the loser of the Guelph-Concordia quarter-final at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday. Both games will be streamed live on OUA.TV.
"I was really happy with how we started," said Alberta bench boss Howie Draper after the game. "We had a lot of energy today and we used our speed when we needed to. We're a strong team defensively, I thought we did the job on the defensive side and we got some great goaltending."
Amy Boucher and Cayle Dillon found the net for the Pandas, while the Huskies' goal came from Gemma MacDonald - the hero in Saint Mary's' triple-overtime win in the deciding game of the AUS conference final.
Alberta goaltender Lindsey Post stopped 20 of the 21 shots that Saint Mary's sent her way to claim the win, while Huskies goaltender Rebecca Clark turned aside 23 of 25 shots faced.
After a scoreless first period, Alberta got on the board first at the six-minute mark of the second period. Boucher sent the Pandas in front on a 2-on-1 opportunity, snapping the puck over the shoulder of Clark. Alberta doubled its lead just over three minutes later, when Dillon scored on a rebound opportunity.
Saint Mary's battled back in the third period, and cut its deficit in half with just over two minutes remaining. After a shot from the point was deflected, creating a rebound, MacDonald was able to quickly tap the puck in for the Huskies. Though Alberta had multiple chances to ice it into an empty SMU net, the final buzzer sounded with a narrow 2-1 Pandas scoreline.
"I just think in the first 40 minutes we were able to be ourselves," said U SPORTS Coach of the Year Chris Larade, who was honoured with the award at Wednesday's All-Canadian Gala . "I give Alberta a lot of credit, they had a lot of team speed and really moved the puck well."
GAME NOTES: Alberta, which finished runner-up in Canada West, will face one of No.2 Guelph or No.7 Concordia on semifinal Saturday...Since winning seven of the first 11 national championships in the 21st century, the Pandas haven't claimed the Golden Path Trophy since 2010...Saint Mary's will move to the consolation side of the bracket.
Barber (SMU) Cross Checking, 5:53;
Tangjerd (ALB) Hooking, 11:59.
1. ALB Amy Boucher (1) (Regan Wright), 6:31
2. ALB Cayle Dillon (1) (Taylor Kezama), 9:53
Lutz (ALB) Hooking, 10:18;
Scholfield (SMU) Tripping, 10:18;
Barber (SMU) Hooking, 13:14.
1. SMU Gemma MacDonald (1) (Breanna Lanceleve), 17:53 PP
Lloyd (ALB) Hooking, 3:48;
Barber (SMU) Body Checking, 5:58;
Kezama (ALB) Delay of Game, 9:03;
Kelly (ALB) Body Checking, 17:06.
GOALS (by period)
ALB 0-2-0: 2
SMU 0-0-1: 1
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
ALB 12-13-0: 25
SMU 6-7-8: 21
ALB – Lindsey Post (W, 1-0, 21 shots, 20 saves, 1 GA, 59:19)
SMU – Rebecca Clark (L, 0-1, 25 shots 23 saves 2 GA, 60:00)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
ALB: Amy Boucher
SMU: Rebecca Clark
REFEREES: Melanie Bordeleau
LINESWOMEN: Marie Ross and Elizabeth Martha
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times ET)
Thursday, March 16
3:00 p.m. Quarter-final 1: No.4 McGill 3, No.5 StFX 1
7:00 p.m. Quarter-final 2: No.1 UBC 2, No.8 Queen's 1
Friday, March 17
11:00 a.m. Quarter-final 3: No.3 Saint Mary's 1, No.6 Alberta 2
3:00 p.m. Quarter-final 4: No. 2 Guelph vs. No. 7 Concordia (OUA.TV)
7:00 p.m. Consolation 1: No. 5 StFX vs. No.8 Queen's (OUA.TV)
Saturday, March 18
11:00 a.m. Consolation 2: No.3 Saint Mary's vs. Loser QF 4 (OUA.TV)
3:00 p.m. Semifinal 1: No. 4 McGill vs. No.1 UBC (OUA.TV)
7:00 p.m. Semifinal 2: No.6 Alberta vs. Winner QF 4 (OUA.TV)
Sunday, March 19
11:00 a.m. 5th-place game (OUA.TV)
3:00 a.m. Bronze (OUA.TV)
7:00 p.m. Final (OUA.TV)