Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Alberta Pandas women's hockey team scored two unanswered second-period goals to defeat the Saskatchewan Huskies by a score of 2-1, splitting the weekend series at one game apiece, on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Merlis Belsher Place.
The game served as the second matchup of the season for the two teams, concluding their opening weekend of the 2018-19 Canada West Campaign, with both the Huskies and Pandas slotting in with matching 1-1-0 records following the two-game set.
Kennedy Ganser and Autumn MacDougall finished with two points on the night as each recorded a goal and an assist for Alberta, while Alex Poznikoff also chipped in with a helper.
For the Huskies, Leah Bohlken has now scored in back-to-back games as her unassisted marker at 3:42 of the second period stood as the lone goal for Saskatchewan.
Despite the loss, Jessica Vance was named the game's first star, as the third-year goaltender recorded 32 saves for the Huskies.
Meanwhile for Alberta, Kirsten Chamberlin was superb in her first start of the season, stopping 25 of 26 shots she faced.
The Pandas were quick out of the gate and came out with wave after wave of pressure in the offensive zone, as they looked to get on the board early after being shut-out the night prior by the Huskies. However, the same old story carried over from the night prior, with Vance shutting the door early and often on the Pandas.
The puck found its way to third-year Alberta forward Lisa Lloyd midway into the first period, and Lloyd broke in alone, but once again Vance made the save and swallowed up the puck, taking away any potential rebound.
With just under 30 seconds remaining in the first period, the Pandas third-line was pressing, as MacDougall was set up with a great opportunity in the slot, but Vance made a terrific stick save. The stop took the Huskies into the first intermission still locked up at zeroes, despite trailing 13-8 in shots on goal during the frame.
The Huskies opened the scoring just minutes into the second period when Bohlken's wrister from the point found twine, as the fourth-year blueliner continued her goal-scoring ways.
However, it took just under a minute for the Panda's to respond when Ganser, a third-year forward, found the back of the net from an odd-angle goal, marking the first tally of the season for Alberta.
Despite the Huskies killing off a hooking penalty right after the goal, the Pandas continued to press and after assisting on the first goal of the night for Alberta, MacDougall added her second point of the night as she jammed in a puck lying underneath Vance's outstretched pad to give the Pandas the lead.
The Huskies were searching for an equalizer of their own, when the powerplay unit went to work from behind the net. Shyan Elias' nifty touch pass from behind the cage was rocketed on net by Bailee Bourassa on the one-timer, however, Chamberlin was there to make the stop and keep Alberta up by a score of 2-1.
Through two periods, the shots on goal stood at 25-17 in favour of the Pandas.
The first prime scoring chance of the third-period presented itself five minutes into the frame, as the Huskies broke into the zone with numbers. However, Elias' wrister was kicked aside by Chamberlin.
Alberta was able to fend off a last-minute flurry of offensive pressure from Saskatchewan, sealing full points for the road team and a series split between the two squads.
The Huskies will take the road next weekend, as they travel into Calgary for a two-game series against the Dinos. Meanwhile, Alberta will begin their home campaign as they play host to the Manitoba Bisons.
All those games will be available on canadawest.tv