• Sunday, October 7, 2018
  • 2:00 PM
  • Edmonton, Alberta - Foote Field
  • Box Score
MRU Cougars000

Pandas host home-and-home for Thanksgiving

Pandas inch closer to locking up No. 1 seed as they battle MRU in weekend series

By Paul Cartledge on October 2, 2018

Fresh off of clinching a playoff spot last weekend at home, the No.10 University of Alberta Pandas host the second half of a home-and-home series with the Mount Royal Cougars over the October long weekend.

The first game of the weekend series takes place in Calgary on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. before game two starts on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on Canada West TV, and will be free to the public at Foote. 

Standings Status

Sitting at No. 10 in the U SPORTS national rankings, the Pandas are the only undefeated team left in the conference, leading Canada West with a 7-0-1 record and a +21 goal differential.

The record also places them first in the Prairie division, far ahead of the three teams battling for the sixth and final playoff spot, but still in a tight race for the regular season division title.

The 7-1-0 Dinos are only one point behind the Pandas, the sole loss coming against Alberta to start the season, and this weekend’s opponent, the 5-2-1 Cougars, are only two wins away from tying their provincial rivals in the standings.

With six games left in the season, two Panda victories would mean Alberta could finish no lower than second in the standings, but it won’t be easy against a Mount Royal squad that hasn’t lost in five straight games.

Familiar Foe

Hailing from Grande Prairie, Alta. and a former member of the St. Albert Impact, third-year midfielder Janai Martens has been crucial over the Cougars’ recent successful stretch, scoring five goals over the last four games as well as three game-winners.

Offensive Arsenal

Alberta, second in goals (24) in the conference, brings a cornucopia of offensive weapons to the pitch with seven different players scoring two or more goals.

Current Pandas on hot streaks include both third-year forward Anna Dunn, netting three goals and five points in the last four games, and senior forward Karissa McNutt, recording a three-point performance against Winnipeg last Saturday in a 6-1 decision and potting a highlight reel game-winner in a 3-0 victory over Manitoba on Sunday.  
The Edmonton native has also recently cracked the Top 10 in career conference scoring in team history, now sitting at 27 points over four seasons of play with the Evergreen and Gold.

Reif with Defensive Prowess 

At the other end of the pitch stands senior netminder Rebecca Reif, tied with Calgary’s Lauren Houghton with a conference-best 0.38 goals against average, Reif coming second behind Houghton in shutouts (five) and save percentage (.893).

The former MacEwan Griffin also sits second among active leaders in career conference shutouts (17).