Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - The Alberta Pandas hockey team secured home ice throughout the Canada West playoffs, as their 3-1 win over Calgary on Friday night clinched their spot atop the conference standings.
Kelsey Tangjerd, Kennedy Ganser and Amy Boucher scored for Alberta, who improve to 18-5-4-0 in conference play. The Pandas needed just three points entering Friday night's game to secure first, as they held a slim lead over the second-place Manitoba Bisons. The Pandas will now get a bye through next week's quarter-final series, before hosting a semifinal series February 22-24.
Kirsten Chamberlin made 12 saves on 13 shots for the Pandas, as she improved her conference record to 10-0-0.
Holly Reuther scored the lone Dinos goal, as they fall to 4-19-1-2 in Canada West play.
Tangjerd opened the scoring just 86 seconds into the first, beating Dinos starter Kira Wasylak with her fourth goal of the season.
The Pandas head a healthy 16-6 shot lead over Calgary through 20, but couldn't add to their lead before the end of the frame.
Despite mustering just three shots in the second, the Dinos leveled the game at one midway through. After Rachel Paul's initial shot was blocked, Reuther ripped the rebound past Kirsten Chamberlin for her second of the season. The Pandas regained the lead just over a minute later, as Boucher fed Ganser from behind the Calgary goal, before Ganser potted her 12th through the five hole of Wasylak.
The Pandas continued to pepper Wasylak throughout the remainder of the second and into the third, but the Dino keeper was sensational. She finished with 33 shots on 35 saves, earning the games first star.
Boucher sealed the Pandas win late, scoring into the empty net for her seventh goal.
The two teams will finish their regular season tomorrow night, as the series shifts to Calgary.