Anthony Simone, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY – University of Alberta's high-powered offensive attack lead the Panda's to a convincing 4-0 win over Mount Royal in the season opener.
The top-ranked University of Alberta Pandas put on an impressive performance Friday night against the sixth-ranked Mount Royal Cougars at Flames Community Arenas.
Both teams came out of the gate with great energy, however, the Pandas controlled the game flow in the first period, outshooting the Cougars 9-4. MRU saw an early opportunity to take the lead on the power play but failed to register a shot on net.
The Cougars second year goaltender Zoe DeBeauville turned away multiple quality scoring opportunities from the Pandas, starting right where she left off a year ago, after posting a league-best .938 save percentage last season. University of Alberta was able to break through the wall late in the first, when number 19 Regan Wright snipped home her first goal of the season from the slot past DeBeauville, taking the Pandas into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The second saw much of the same for the Cougars, with the Pandas controlling the puck for most of the period. DeBeauville held strong turning away multiple shots from the Pandas early power play. Mount Royal's best scoring opportunity came midway through the period when Cougars captain, defensemen Devonie Deschamps, rung a wrist shot from the blue line off the inside of the crossbar. The crowd roared as though the puck went in the net, but was quickly waived off by the referee. Shortly after killing MRU's second power play of the game, fourth year forward Amy Boucher wristed home the Pandas second goal of the game. University of Alberta spent much of the second half of the period in Mount Royal's end, however, the Cougars were able to hold off the Pandas attack, taking a 2-0 deficit going into the third.
The dagger came early in the third period as number 16 Alexandra Poznikoff ripped home a powerplay goal. Pznikoff looks to improve upon an impressive season a year ago, where she scored 13 goals. MRU's last chance at a comeback came when Tatum Amy rung a shot off the post on the power play. Deanna Morin potted the empty net goal in the final minute of the game, giving the Panda's the 4-0 win in their first game of the season.
Pandas Goaltender Dayna Owen recorded a solid shutout performance but credited her teammates for the team's success. "Our defence made my job easy by blocking shots, and our offence made their lives difficult by keeping the puck in their end."
The Cougars and Pandas play the second game of the home and home tomorrow in Edmonton. Puck is set to drop at 5:00 MST and can be live streamed at Canadawest.tv