Needing just one point over the final two conference games to lock up the No. 1 seed, the Alberta Pandas
hockey team tangles with the seventh place Calgary Dinos
in a home-and-home series this weekend.
Alberta will open the series at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night Clare Drake Arena, with Calgary hosting the rubber match on Saturday night.
The Pandas sit atop CW with a 17-5-4-0 record, and three points clear of Manitoba. Holding the tie-breaker over the Bisons, the Pandas need just a single point to secure the top seed heading into the post-season.
The Pandas have already locked up a first round bye, and will host a semifinal series in two weeks.
Calgary’s playoff fate has already been solidified, as they have failed to make the post-season with a current record of 4-18-1-3. The Dinos streak now runs to three straight seasons without qualifying for the playoffs, with 2015/16 their last appearance.
Currently on one of the best stretches of her career, fourth-year Panda Alex Poznikoff has jumped back atop the conference scoring lead.
Poznikoff recorded six points last weekend in Lethbridge, and now has a CW-best 35 points in 25 games. Over her last seven games, the Edmonton product has seven goals and six assists. Her 35 points are easily the most she has had in one season, topping her previous high of 25 from 2016/7.
Dynamic Puck Stoppers
It’s not often the best two goalies are suiting up for the same program, but that may be the case this season with the Pandas.
Third-year goalie Kirsten Chamberlin leads Canada West with a miniscule 0.59 goals against average and a 0.964 save percentage, while owning a 9-0-0 record in nine games.
Rookie stopper Halle Oswald sits second, owning a 0.61/0.962 stat line with an 8-1-0 record in 10 starts.
The two have also combined for 10 shutouts in 19 games, while Dayna Owen has added another two in her eight starts.
U SPORTS Rankings
Despite having won all four games against the Bisons this season, and sitting three points clear of their rivals, the Bisons enter the final weekend ranked second in the national rankings, while the Pandas are third.
The Bisons have held the No. 1 ranking for four weeks, while the Pandas have had it for just one. UBC is the only other Canada West team to be ranked nationally, entering the week at No. with a 16-5-5 conference record.
This weekend will be the final conference games for the Pandas three graduating student-athletes.
Hannah Olenyk, Amy Boucher and Taylor Kezama will all finish their career’s this season, with all three being members of the Pandas 2017 U SPORTS national championship.