January 13, 2013, (ISN) – Third-year winger Johnny Lazo had a goal and assist to the lead the No.1 ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team to a 3-2 victory, and more importantly a weekend sweep, over the No.4 ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton.
Lazo, originally from Winnipeg, scored Alberta’s second goal of the night, and then assisted on the game winner to give himself a team leading 25 points in 20 games. Travis Toomey and fourth-year centre Sean Ringrose also scored for Alberta, while goalkeeper Kurtis Mucha made 20 saves for the win. Mucha, who backstopped the Bears to a win on Friday, earned the consecutive starts for the first time this season.
Saskatchewan fought back from a two goal deficit twice in the game thanks to a pair of power-play goals, one each from Brennan Bosch and Jimmy Bubnick. Third-year goalie Ryan Holfeld, who stopped 37 shots in a 3-2 loss last night, made 34 saves tonight, but wound up with the exact same result.
The pair of wins by the Golden Bears propels the number one team in the nation into first place in the Canada West standings with a 16-4-0 record and 32 points, while Saskatchewan slips into second place with a 14-6-0 record and 28 points.
Prior to this weekend, Saskatchewan had won eight of their previous 11 games against Alberta, including a pair earlier this season in Saskatoon by one goal margins. Now, including this weekend, the rivals have settled their differences by just a single goal in 11 of their last 13 contests between each other.
After scoring with 1:21 left in the third period last night to earn the win, on Saturday night Alberta’s start suggested the rubber match was going to be an easy one for the Green and Gold.
Lazo then doubled that advantage at 14:27 of the first when he scooped up another turn-over in Saskatchewan ice, blazed past a defender, and streaked a laser beam wrist shot past Holfeld.
Saskatchewan cut that lead in half early in the second period to rain on the Bears’ parade. Bosch scored his 10th of the season, this one on the power-play, when he roofed a hard wrist shot over Mucha’s shoulder at 3:09 of the middle frame.
However, the Golden Bears were able to restore their two goal lead when assistant captain Sean Ringrose beat Holfeld just over seven minutes later, with assists going to linemates Torrie Dyck and Lazo. It would go down as Ringrose’s third game winner of the season, as well as his 10th goal and 22nd point.
Before the period was over, however, Saskatchewan was able to get back to within one goal when their power-play once again connected. This time it was freshman Jimmy Bubnick with the goal, his seventh of the season, with the assists going to Kenton Dulle and Brandon Herrod.
Both Mucha and Holfeld had to be sharp in the third period to preserve the score line, each goalie faced 11 third period shots, but Mucha in particular was solid in the crease turning aside all Huskie attacks in the final period, including a minute where Saskatchewan played with Holfeld on the bench and an extra attacker.
As the final horn sounded, frustrations boiled over between the two bitter rivals, with several skirmishes erupting in the corner of the Bears’ end, but no major penalties assessed.
The Bears will return to Clare Drake Arena next weekend to take on the 1-17-2 Lehtbridge Pronrghorns, and in fact, will play five of their final eight games on home ice. Saskatchewan is home next weekend to the 11-7-2 UBC Thunderbirds.