Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - Rookie Panda Halle Oswald stopped at 17 shots she faced in her Canada West debut, leading the Pandas to a 2-0 win over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday afternoon at Clare Drake Arena.
Alex Poznikoff and Hannah Olenyk scored for Alberta, who capture their second-straight shutout over the defending conference champions in Edmonton. The win is also the third straight for Alberta, who improves to 3-1-0-0 in conference play. The Bisons, who couldn't muster a single goal over the weekend, fall to 2-2-0-0.
Special teams played a large factor in Saturday's game, like it did in the Pandas 1-0 win the precious night. Poznikoff opened the scoring shorthanded in the third period, while Olenyk scored the insurance marker on the powerplay later in the frame.
Also similar to the series opener was the Pandas dominance early in the game. Alberta jumped ahead early in shots, finishing the first period with a 13-6 edge. However, sophomore Bison starter Lauren Taraschuk was more than up to the challenge, making a handful of excellent saves to keep her side in the game.
The second frame wasn't much different, as the Pandas hounded the Bisons for the games first goal. Autumn MacDougall had a pair of great scoring chances midway through the frame, but both were handled by Taraschuk.
The Bisons mustered just three shots in the second, each of which was handled easily by Oswald.
Poznikoff finally capitalized on the Pandas dominance early in the third, scoring the eventual game-winner just 42 seconds into the frame. Starting the period with the powerplay, the Bisons coughed up the puck at the Panda blueline. Defender Taylor Kezama took advantage, leading the Pandas two-one-one rush, feeding Poznikoff in the slot, who was able to finish for her first goal of the season.
Olenyk doubled the Pandas lead later in the third, ripping a shot past Taraschuk from the faceoff circle just three seconds into a Panda powerplay.
Despite giving up two goals, the third was arguably the best period all weekend for Manitoba. They were finally able to generate some offensive zone time, firing eight shots on the Pandas net. Oswald, however, was excellent in crunch time, calmly making all eight saves to capture her first career win.
The conference-leading Pandas will remain at home next Friday, as they host the Mount Royal Cougars in the first half of a home-and-home series. The Bisons, meanwhile, will face off against the 3-1-0 Regina Cougars.