EDMONTON - It took a game-tying goal in the final 15 seconds of regulation, as the University of Alberta Pandas overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the visiting Manitoba Bisons 3-2 in double overtime, Saturday afternoon at Clare Drake Arena.
Alex Poznikoff and Cayle Dillon scored in regulation for Alberta, before Regan Wright netted the winner 3:53 into the second overtime period. The comeback win for Alberta evened both the weekend series at one game each, and also gave each programs two wins against each other this season. Alberta improves to 7-4-4-3, while the Bisons fall to 11-4-2-1, but maintain their spot atop the Canada West standings.
Coming off a hard-fought 2-1 win the previous night, Manitoba opened Saturday's game with two quick goals in the first period. Lauren Warkentin opened the scoring for the visitors just one minute into the opening frame, before Caitlin Fyten doubled the Manitoba lead just seven minutes later. The two Bison goals came on their first two shots of the game, who were actually out shot significantly in the first period (12-4). However, Bison starter Rachel Dyck was more than up to the challenge, stopping all 12 shots she faced.
The Pandas continued to pepper Dyck with shots throughout the second period, firing another 13 shots on target. Despite the dominance on the shot clock, the Pandas were continually turned aside by Dyck, as well as the stingy Bison penalty kill. Alberta finished the night 0/8 on the player advantage.
The Pandas were finally able to find a crack in the Bison armor late in the second, as Poznikoff cut the Manitoba lead in half with her fifth goal of the season in the final three minutes of the second.
The third period was a stark contrast to the first two, as the Bisons sat back trying to protect their lead, managing just one shot in the third period, while the Pandas were still struggling to find shooting lanes through the Bison defenders. The Pandas controlled a majority of the play in the third, but mustered just four shots of their own in the third. But it took only one shot to tie the game, which the Pandas did with 15 seconds left. Dillon's shot from the point found it's way through a screen in front, and over Dyck's shoulder.
The Pandas, who finished the game with a 33-12 shot advantage, carried over their strong play into overtime, leading to Wright's game-winner off a two-on-one with Autumn MacDougall at the end of the second overtime period.
Both teams will continue their trek towards clinching a playoff spot next weekend, as the Pandas battle the Calgary Dinos in a home-and-home series, while the Bisons host the Saskatchewan Huskies. All four games will be streamed live on Canada West TV.