Connor Hood - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - Dominating their opponents for the full 60 minutes, the University of Alberta Pandas skated away with an impressive 5-0 win over the Calgary Dinos, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena.
The win was the fourth in four games for Alberta over Calgary this season, as they leap past the Saskatchewan Huskies into third in Canada West with a 9-4-4-3 record. The loss for Calgary is their fourth straight, as they fall to 6-12-0-2 this season. The win is also the ninth straight for Alberta over Calgary in Canada West play, a streak dating back to 2015-16 season.
After a 2-0 win the previous night, which saw the Pandas outshoot Calgary 31-8, Saturday's performance was even more impressive for the second-ranked team from Edmonton. Alberta held Calgary to just five shots in the series finale (35-5 overall), without allowing a single Dino powerplay. Fourth-year forward Amy Boucher provided the majority of the offence needed for the hosts, scoring three times, while Hannah Olenyk and Autumn MacDougall also tallied for Alberta.
Looking for their third-straight conference win, the Pandas opened Saturday's game as the clear aggressors, outshooting Calgary 10-1 in the first. Olenyk opened the scoring just 48 seconds into the first, beating Calgary starter Kelsey Roberts with an impressive individual effort. MacDougall, the conference's leading scorer, doubled the Panda lead midway through the first, before Boucher scored the first of her three just under a minute later.
The most impressive aspect of the Pandas win was their neutral zone pay, as they gave Calgary trouble entering the Alberta zone all night. The second period highlighted the best of that play, as the Pandas outshot the trailing Dinos 14-0 in the frame. However, Kira Wasylak, who replaced Roberts in goal, did her part to keep the Dinos in the game with a stellar second period.
While a three-goal comeback for a Calgary team who have mustered just 17 goals in 19 games seemed unlikely, their play improved dramatically early in the third. Calgary was able to get a few shots through to Panda goalie Kirsten Chamberlin, while also finding the post twice on shots from in tight. However, Boucher, whose speed was too much for Calgary to handle defensively, added another pair of goals in the third, both of which off long rushes around Dino defenders, to seal the Alberta win.
The Pandas will attempt to continue their charge up the standings next weekend, as they visit the 6-10-1-3 Regina Cougars. Calgary, who still sit just one point behind Mount Royal for the sixth and final playoff spot, face another stiff test, as they travel to Saskatoon to battle the 12-7-0-1 Saskatchewan Huskies.