Justin Mackenzie; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – Two power play goals by the University of Alberta Pandas spoiled the final game of the season for the Calgary Dinos as they fell 2-0 to their northern rivals on Saturday night at the Father David Bauer Arena.
A loss by the Manitoba Bisons earlier in the day had already secured Alberta the top seed in the Canada West playoffs, but the win by the Pandas further cemented a strong 2018-19 season that saw them finish with a 23-5-0-0 record.
The Dinos complete their season with a 5-20-3-0 record and will watch the playoffs from the sidelines in 2019.
Despite the setback, Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette reflected positively on her team's performance in the Battle of Alberta this season.
"That's four very good efforts against one of the best team in the country," said the Calgary bench boss.
Calgary came out of the gates flying on Saturday, matching Alberta's tempo throughout most of the opening frame. Their best chance to score came mid-way through the period when Sage Desjardins broke into the offensive zone and fired a shot, but the left pad of Kirsten Chamberlin denied it.
Withstanding the pressure from the home team, Alberta was rewarded three power plays during the first period and picked up a special teams goal at the 14:07 mark. The puck was sent to the point to Taylor Kezama who fired an attempt through traffic and beat goaltender Kelsey Roberts over the right shoulder to take the lead.
The Dinos struggled to respond to Alberta's opening goal and was trapped in their own zone for much of the second period.
With another power play five minutes into the middle stanza, two of the best scorers in U SPORTS connected for the Pandas. Only eight seconds into a power play, Autumn MacDougall fed Alex Poznikoff for her conference-leading 15th goal of the season.
The pair was not finished there – as later in the period – MacDougall came in from the right side and fired a spin pass right to the tape of Poznikoff, only to be stopped by Roberts to keep her team within striking distance.
Roberts was relied on heavily in the final 40 minutes, making 17 saves while the Dinos only managed four shots on goal. The Dinos netminder finished the night with 28 stops.
With the 11-save performance, Chamberlin ends the year with six shutouts and 11 wins.
The Pandas will have a week to rest after earning a bye through the opening round of the Canada West Playoffs and will next see action at home in the conference semifinals.
Photo by David Moll