EDMONTON (from Alberta Pandas) – The No. 1-ranked University of Alberta Pandas inched one game closer to Canada West history, as they earned their sixth consecutive win, and fifth by way of a shutout, as they knocked off the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 Friday night at Clare Drake Arena.
The shutout streak for the Pandas was extended to 351:38 following the win Friday night, which is now the second-longest streak in Canada West history. The 2000-01 and 2001-02 Pandas set the current conference record with seven consecutive shutouts at the tail end of the 2000-01 and the beginning of the 2001-02 season. With the win, the Pandas also jumped into second place in the conference with 47 points and a 12-4-4-3 record.
Lethbridge, meanwhile, took a significant hit to its playoff chances, as it suffered its ninth loss in a row, falling to 3-15-2-3. The ‘Horns now trail Regina and Calgary by seven points for the sixth and final playoff spot with five conference games remaining.
Powering the Pandas to their win was third-year sniper Alex Poznikoff, who recorded both Alberta goals. The pair of points also closed the gap between her and fellow Panda Autumn MacDougall for the Canada West scoring title. Poznikoff sits second with 20 points in 23 games, while MacDougall leads the conference with 26 in 23 after picking up an assist on Friday.
Poznikoff’s first of the night came late in the first period, and marked the first short-handed goal for Alberta this season. Regan Wright’s initial shot on the rush was stopped, before Poznikoff followed up the play, and beat Lethbridge starter Alicia Anderson off the rebound.
As has been the case all season for the ‘Horns, the stellar play from Anderson was the sole reason they trailed Alberta by just one after 20 minutes. The third-year Pronghorn made 28 stops on 30 Alberta shots in the game, including a pair of outstanding stops late in the first, and early in the second. However, her strong play did little to energize her teammates, who were held in their own zone for a majority of the night. Lethbridge managed just 13 shots all game, including just two in the first, and five in the third.
The 1-0 Alberta lead stood until midway through the third, when Poznikoff buried the ‘Horns with her second of the game, off a beautiful feed from MacDougall.
Pandas starter Dayna Owen stopped 13 shots to earn her fourth shutout of the season.
The series finale between the two provincial foes is slated for 2 p.m. MT Saturday when the Pandas play host to the Pronghorns at Clare Drake Arena.