WHKY: Pandas punch ticket to semifinal with sweep of Regina

WHKY: Pandas punch ticket to semifinal with sweep of Regina

Connor Hood - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics

EDMONTON - For the 21st-straight season, the University of Alberta Pandas hockey team advanced to the Canada West semifinal, after sweeping the visiting Regina Cougars with a 2-1 win, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena. 

The 2-1 win in Game 2 was the second straight by the same decision, as the Pandas were able to advance past the Cougars in their best-of-three quarter-final series in Edmonton. The fourth-seeded Pandas will now travel to Winnipeg next weekend, to take on the No. 1 ranked Manitoba Bisons in one of two semifinal series'. 

Amy Boucher and Deanna Morin scored for the victorius Pandas on Saturday, while sophomore Panda goalie Kirsten Chamberlin turned in another strong performance with 23 saves. Sam Geekie scored the lone Cougar goal in the third period, while Morgan Baker allowed two goals on 18 shots. 

In an incredibly similar start to the game before, Regina came out the aggressors, but allowed the games first goal. Baker, who was starting in place of Game 1 starter Jane Kish, was unable to hug her post completely, as Boucher snuck a shot in short-side midway through the first. 

And just like in Game 1, the first-period Panda goal seemed to spark the home side, who took over control of the game. Morin doubled the Alberta lead early in the second, taking advantage of a turnover in the Cougar crease, before burying her first of the playoffs. 

Chamberlin, who was starting her first series as a starter with the Pandas, turned in a handful of saves in the opening two periods, stopping all 14 Cougar shots she faced through 40.

Her workload increased in the third, as the Cougars added some desperation to their game facing elimination. Geekie broke the deadlock midway through the third, as her point shot found a lane through the maze of bodies in front, and passed a screened Chamberlin. 

Chamberlin would slam the door shut in the final ten minutes, making another nine saves in the third period to clinch the Game 2 win for Alberta.

The Pandas and Bisons best-of-three Canada West semifinal will get underway on Friday in Winnipeg, with all three games streamed live on Canada West TV.