EDMONTON - A couple of late goals by the home team broke a 1-1 tie, as the No.9 University of Alberta Pandas extending their undefeated streak to six games with a 3-1 victory over the Mount Royal Cougars, Saturday afternoon at Foote Field.
Sophomore middles Kiera Fujimoto and Anna Dunn each tallied their first goal of the season, while fourth-year forward Sydney Daines scored her team-leading fifth goal, and third game-winner, to go along with one assist.
Third-year forward Erin Holt notched the lone goal for the Cougars, her team-leading third tally of the season, in a losing effort.
With the win, Alberta improves to 6-1-2 and needs only one more win to clinch a playoff spot. Mount Royal moves to 4-3-2, falling out of a second-place tie in the Prairie Division and now sits fourth; only the top six teams in the Prairie division qualify for the post-season.
The home team opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a brilliant three-way passing play, fourth-year forward Karissa McNutt crossing the ball into the box to Daines, using a one-time header to vault the ball toward Fujimoto in the middle, who also headed the ball and placing it into the far corner.
The Cougars responded only 10 minutes later, however, with Holt taking advantage of a free kick from distance, with the help of some blustery weather, to curl the ball over third-year netminder Cassie Bazzarelli and underneath the crossbar to make it a 1-1 game.
The Pandas continued firing on the Mount Royal net, a total of 18 shots in the first half, but the teams entered the locker room knotted at one.
Alberta persisted in outshooting the Cougars in the second half and though Daines subbed out of the game late in the first half, head coach Liz Jepsen brought her back in the 67th minute for a bigger offensive push, succeeding when Daines and third-year forward Brenna Mattiello connected on a two-on-one in tight in the 79th minute.
Dunn potted the insurance marker at the start of the 90th minute, putting home a rebound from McNutt to seal the victory.
The home-and-home series between the two squads finishes on Sunday with a game at 11 a.m. MT in Calgary.