EDMONTON - Fifth-year Pandas keeper Rebecca Reif stopped all four shots she faced, as the Alberta Pandas earned their eighth conference win with a 2-0 shutout of the Mount Royal Cougars, Saturday afternoon at Foote Field.
The game, which was originally scheduled to be held by the Cougars in Calgary but moved to Edmonton due to inclement weather, was controlled for the entire 90 minutes by Alberta. Brooke Lang gave the Pandas an early lead in the first half, before Sydney Daines sealed the win in the second half with her fourth goal of the season.
Now owning an 8-0-1 record, the Pandas trail Calgary by two points for top spot in the Prairie Division with one game in hand. The Cougars remain in third behind the Pandas and Dinos with a 5-3-1 record.
The Pandas opened the match by peppering the Cougar net with shots, finishing the first half with 17. Seven of those shots found the MRU net, which forced Cougar keeper Cailyn Leeson to make a handful of challenging saves to keep her side in the match.
Alberta finally broke through in the 37th, however, finding the net off a set piece. Brenna Mattiello's corner kick missed the heads of two Cougar defenders, before Lang headed the ball past Leeson into the MRU net. The Pandas, who controlled possession for nearly the entire first half, couldn't add to their lead before halftime.
The strong play of the Panda forwards and constant control of the ball carried into the second half, as Alberta continued to look for their second goal. Leeson made another six saves in the second half, including a pair inside the Cougar box to keep the game 1-0.
Daines finally added the insurance marker for Alberta in the 84th. After her first shot was stopped, Daines ripped in the rebound to give the Pandas a commanding 2-0 lead.
Arguably the best chance for the Cougars came late, but Reif robbed Haley Nicholson from in tight to preserve the clean sheet.
The Pandas and Cougars will finish their weekend series tomorrow afternoon, in the only game that was originally scheduled for Foote Field. Game time for the provincials foes is set for 2:00 p.m. MST.