Bears’ top scorers earn Game 1 victory

Alberta GBears

Story by Paul Cartledge (UofA) – Photos by Joel Belizario (ISN)

February 23, 2013, Edmonton, AB – Forwards Johnny Lazo and Torrie Dyck both had three-point nights in a 4-0 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-three conference semi-final series between the No.2 University of Alberta Golden Bears and the No.10 University of Calgary Dinos, Friday night at Clare Drake Arena.

Former Tri-City American Lazo potted a pair of goals and an assist while Dyck, a former ACAC athlete with Augustana, netted a goal and two assists in his first playoff game as a Golden Bear. Sophomore forward Brett Ferguson added a couple of helpers while Travis Toomey, also a second-year forward, rounded out the scoring. Netminder Kurtis Mucha continued his shutout streak from the regular season, extending to a total time of 204:20 in a 26-save performance for his third-straight shutout.

Golden Bear Travis Toomey and Dino Brock Nixon prepare to faceoff at Clare Drake Arena – Photo by Joel Belizario (ISN) 

Senior goaltender Dustin Butler made 26 saves in the loss for the Dinos.

The Golden Bears opened the scoring early, Lazo redirecting a Greg Gardner shot headed wide, putting it along the ice for the 1-0 lead only 1:28 into the game.

Golden Bear Sean Ringrose carries the puck while pursued by Dino Blake Clement at Clare Drake – Photo by Joel Belizario (ISN)

The conference-best offence, and second best in the country, continued to pour on the pressure in the opening frame, outshooting Calgary 12-5 and doubling the lead with 1:46 to go in the first period when Lazo evaded a Dino defender along the boards to create a three-on-two rush down low.

Golden Bear Greg Gardner throws a shot on net at Clare Drake Arena – Photo by Joel Belizario (ISN)

The Winnipeg native fed a pass to Dyck in the slot, the fourth-year ringing his shot off the post and in for his first of the playoffs and 13th goal as a Golden Bear.

Golden Bears Brett Fegurson, Torrie Dyck, and Johnny Lazo celebrate after scoring the third goal of the night at Clare Drake Arena – Photo by Joel Belizario (ISN)

Hungry to even the score, Calgary opened up the play in the middle frame, resulting in the two teams trading chances at the start of the second but the score remaining 2-0 because of Butler and Mucha’s strong play between the pipes.

Golden Bear Kurtis Mucha makes a stop on Dino Brock Nixon at Clare Drake Arena – Photo by Joel Belizario (ISN)

On a late Alberta power-play, however, the Bears increased the lead to three goals when Ferguson, a former Red Deer Rebel, found Lazo alone in the slot and the third-year one-timed the pass to the top shelf with 1:43 left to go in the second.

Despite the Dinos having better luck on the shot clock in the final 40 minutes, the visitors couldn’t put one past the season’s best goaltender, coming into the playoffs with a conference-best .936 save percentage and 1.30 goals against average.

Dino Spencer Edwards is knocked down while battling for the puck with Golden Bear Thomas Carr at Clare Drake Arena – Photo by Joel Belizario (ISN)

The former Kamloops Blazer didn’t make a highlight-reel save all game, but played a steady game with near-perfect positioning to keep the provincial rivals off the scoreboard.

Toomey finished the scoring with 4:22 left in the third when he took a loose puck in the Calgary defensive zone, circled towards the slot and roofed a backhand for a short-handed marker.

Alberta finished the game at 1-8 on the power-play while the Dinos went 0-5.

The Battle of Alberta resumes on Saturday with Game 2 of the semi-final at 6 p.m. MT at Clare Drake Arena. If necessary, Game 3 will also at 6 p.m. on Sunday.