WINNIPEG – The University of Manitoba Bisons concluded their 2019-20 campaign with a 4-0 loss to the No. 5 ranked Alberta Pandas on Saturday afternoon at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
The Pandas jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with fifth-year defender Abby Benning scoring what turned out to be the game-winner less than five minutes into the game.
“It is nice to finish first and clinch home ice advantage for the playoffs,” said Alberta head coach Howie Draper. “Hopefully this puts us on the right path to achieve our next goal.”
With something to prove after the loss to the Bisons the night prior, the Pandas got out to a hot start in the regular season finale. Benning and Willan each scored before the 14-minute mark of the first to give their Pandas squad an early 2-0 lead. Alberta had two more glorious scoring chances but the Bisons’ Schubert came up with two sensational saves to keep Manitoba within two headed to the break.
During the second period Schubert mishandled a puck behind the net but was able to recover in time to keep the puck out with a desperation toe save. Minutes later Schubert stopped a Pandas 3-on-1 opportunity to keep the Manitoba deficit at two and gave her team a chance to get back in the game.
Late in the middle frame, Bisons forward Madison Cole had the best scoring chance for the home side but her shot deflected off the post and wide. The teams took to the locker room for the final intermission with Alberta still holding a 2-0 lead.
With the Pandas still leading 2-0 in the latter half of the final period, the Bisons gave up a partial breakaway to Regan Wright while on the powerplay. Wright made no mistake and slid the puck between the five-hole of Schubert to extend the Alberta lead to 3-0. Moments later Bison coach Jon Rempel opted to pull the Schubert early while still on the power play, but the Pandas’ Autumn MacDougall put the puck into the empty net to secure the victory.
Manitoba will finish the 2019-20 Canada West season with a final record of 8-17-2-1 while Alberta will finish on top of the conference standings with a record of 18-8-1-0. Finishing first will grant the Pandas a bye to the semi-finals of the Canada West playoffs.