Paul Cartledge, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON – As they continue to jostle for playoff positioning, the No. 10 University of Alberta Pandas and Mount Royal University Cougars battled to a 0-0 draw to maintain their current standing, Sunday afternoon at Foote Field.
Senior netminder Rebecca Reif made three saves for her third-straight shutout and her seventh on the season. The Edmonton native also recorded her 19th career conference clean sheet, cracking the Top 10 in the Canada West records book while earning her 11th in Evergreen and Gold (having already achieved eight with the MacEwan Griffins).
Rookie goaltender Rose Hemans made six saves in her second shutout of the season, currently ranking third in the conference behind Reif and Calgary's Lauren Houghton with a 0.80 goals against average.
Mount Royal's single point and record improvement to 5-3-2 solidifies their spot in the post-season, but with all teams in the Prairie division still with four games left in the regular season, the Cougars' hold on third place is anything but certain, as all three teams below them could catch up.
Alberta moves to 8-0-2 on the season, remaining the only team in the conference to remain undefeated, yet the Pandas are one point shy of first-place Calgary after this weekend's action. Despite a nine-point lead in the standings over Mount Royal, the Cougars are still within striking distance of their two provincial rivals.
The first half of the defensive duel on Sunday afternoon at Foote Field featured the shots in favour of the home team, but ball possession was fairly even and no big scoring threats occurred on either side of the pitch.
Both teams attempted to kickstart their offence with multiple substitutions throughout the second half, but neither team could find the game-deciding tally to earn an extra two points.
Though the Pandas doubled the Cougars in shots in the second frame, to a tune of eight to four, the scoring chances continued to be virtually absent. The two squads persistently stifled each other, defenders flocking to strikers almost instantly to prevent any good chances on net.
Alberta travels to B.C. next weekend to face off against Trinity Western and Fraser Valley, Mount Royal making the same trip but switching the order of opponents.