VANCOUVER — The Alberta Pandas scored once each period, twice on the power play, while Kirsten Chamerblin made 24 saves in a 3-0 shutout win over the host UBC Thunderbirds, spoiling the end to the inaugural Winter Thunderland festival at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre Saturday afternoon.
Autumn MacDougall scored her Canada West leading ninth and tenth goals of the season, both on the man advantage, while Chamberlin earned her third shutout of the season as the Pandas (9-6-1-0) completed the season series sweep over the T-Birds (7-5-1-3) who enter the December break having lost four in a row, the last three without managing a single goal.
“I thought the players came up big when we needed them to and we got some timely goals,” said Alberta head coach Howie Draper. “Of late we’ve been able to get some of those goals and somehow we seem to be keeping them out so that’s a pretty good recipe.”
After going 0-for-5 on the power play in Friday night’s series opener, the Pandas opened scoring Saturday on their second man advantage of the afternoon. Cayle Dillon fed the puck to MacDougall at the right faceoff circle. It appeared as if the fifth-year Panda was looking to dish the puck for a backdoor play but it deflected off a Thunderbird penalty killer and past Tory Micklash to get the visitors on the board at the 16:35 mark.
It was MacDougall who struck again, five minutes into the second, to double the Alberta lead with another power play tally. After Micklash kicked out a shot by Dillon from the slot, MacDougall quickly buried the rebound at the side of the crease.
The T-Birds weren’t without their chances throughout the course of the game. With just under seven minutes remaining in the third, the ‘Birds were frantically trying to shove a loose puck in the crease over the line, but somehow the Pandas managed to clear it out of harms way to preserve what would become their third straight shutout victory.
“We had girls diving in front of shots,” added Draper, praising his team’s defensive effort. “UBC’s got some strong shooters so you need that kind of sacrifice from the girls in front of the goalie and of course (Chamberlin) and (Oswald) were both there when we needed them this weekend.”
UBC called their timeout with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, placing Micklash on the bench for the extra attacker. But it was the Pandas who took advantage when Alex Poznikoff slid the puck into the empty net for her eighth of the season.
The victory moves Alberta into a tie with the Saskatchewan for second in the conference heading into the holiday break while the T-Birds fall to fourth.
UBC opens up 2020 with a trip to Calgary to face the first place Dinos January 3rd and 4th while the Pandas will host the Huskies the same weekend.