EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Pandas hockey team’s three game win streak came to an end Friday night, as the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies (5-1-2-1) edged the home squad 3-2 in a shootout. The win was the fourth in a row for the Huskies, and their seventh overall, while the Pandas fall to 4-5-0-0 on the season, placing them in fifth in the conference.
Rookie Cayle Dillon and third-year forward Ashley Morin scored for Alberta, while third-year forward Kaitlin Willoughby and fifth-year forward Julia Flinton scored for the victorious Huskies. Flinton also scored the lone shootout goal, while Cassidy Hendricks stopped all three shooters she faced, as well as 26 saves during regulation and overtime to record her fifth win of the season.
Despite only recording four shots in the opening frame, the visiting Huskies would be the first team to open the scoring. A wild pass from the Pandas in their own zone found Flinton alone at the point, and she wired a wrist shot through a screen and over Lindsey Post’s shoulder for her second goal of the year. The Pandas had trouble finding a flow offensively in the first, recording only six shots themselves.
However, the second period was completely different than the first, as it was Alberta who dominated the play, outshooting Saskatchewan 9-4. Dillion scored her first career goal for the Pandas early in the second, equaling the game at one. But with only 26 seconds remaining in the period, Willoughby showed her tremendous speed, as she blew by the flat-footed defence, and ripped a shot just under the bar to restore the one goal Huskie lead.
The Pandas came out firing in the final period, looking for the tying goal. Their hard work payed off with just 8 minutes left; Hendricks found herself way out of her crease trying to cover the puck, and Morin was able to sneak her shot from the side of the crease through a maze of sticks and bodies in front, tying the game at 2’s.
Both teams played incredibly cautious in both overtime periods, with Saskatchewan recording only one shot on goal through ten minutes, and neither team finding a winner. After Hendricks absolutely robbed Lindsey Cunningham with a last resort paddle save to open the shootout, Flinton would rip a shot, once again over Post’s shoulder, for the only goal of the shootout. Tess Houston and Morin would also shoot for the Pandas, but were unable to beat Hendricks.
Despite being outshoot 28-10, the Huskies were able to escape with the thrilling 3-2 win.
These two squads will renew hostilities tomorrow, as the Pandas host the Huskies at 6:00 p.m. at Clare Drake arena in game two of their weekend series.