Edmonton, AB – The UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team came out on the wrong end of heavily contested defensive battle against the Alberta Pandas, falling 2-1 Friday night in Edmonton. With the victory, the Pandas lock down first overall in the Canada West and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs with just one game remaining in the regular season.
UBC had their chances on the night, but were unable to capitalize on the power play, including two 5-on-3 opportunities, finishing the game 0-for-8.
Down 1-0 heading into the final frame, the Thunderbirds struggled to generate many offensive opportunities. They were just as stingy in their own end until just under three minutes remaining in regulation when Jessica Sekulic beat Danielle Dube for her fourth goal of the season, putting the home side in front 2-0.
However, the Thunderbirds would not go away quietly. With Dube on the bench and an extra attacker on the ice, Cailey Hay picked the perfect time to pot her first goal of the season with just 1:19 left to cut the lead to 2-1.
UBC would continue to press, but would be unable to beat Lindsey Post in the waning moments to fall 2-1.
“They deserved the game and first place,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas. “They played more consistent and desperate.”
Post who has started every single game this season for Alberta has allowed just 32 goals against in 27 games. She made 13 saves on the night for the win.
Dude stopped 11 of the 13 shots she faced.
Janelle Froehler opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period on the power play, beating Dube for her fourth goal of the season. Alberta finished the night 1-for-5 on the man advantage.
With the win Alberta improves to 20-6-1 on the season, while UBC falls to 17-6-4. The Thunderbirds remain in second place in the conference, but are just one point up on Manitoba as the Bisons defeated Calgary Friday night. UBC still has a chance at earning an opening round playoff bye. The easiest way to do it is defeat Alberta tomorrow and they will finish second, lose and they will need some help from the Dinos.
“We have to learn from this and be better tomorrow,” said Thomas. “We had too many up and down shifts. They block a lot of shots and clog up the middle, so offensively we need to find more shooting lanes and win more battle in front of the net.”
These two teams will wrap up regular season tomorrow afternoon at Clare Drake Arena. Puck drop is 1:00 pm PST.