March 15, 2013, Saskatoon (CIS) – Levko Koper scored two minutes and 51 seconds into the first overtime period as the University of Alberta Golden Bears extended their season with a 4-3 win over the Saint Mary’s Huskies in the second game of pool A at the CIS men’s hockey championship Friday afternoon, at Credit Union Centre.
After dropping their opener 2-1 to Waterloo on Thursday, the top-seeded Bears were facing a must-win situation in their second and final preliminary round contest.
Waterloo and Saint Mary’s face off Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Saskatchewan Time in the pool A finale, live on Sportsnet (except Sportsnet East) and www.CIS-SIC.tv.
Waterloo advances to Sunday’s gold-medal match with a victory. Alberta goes through if Saint Mary’s prevails 1-0 or 2-1. The Huskies get to play for the University Cup if they win by any other score.
“We’ll worry about the various scenarios in a few hours. We get to live another day, and for now it’s all that matters,” said first-year Alberta bench boss Ian Herbers. “I thought we had lots of energy in the early goings but, like yesterday, we couldn’t buy a goal.”
“There’s no quit in this team. I don’t have to say too much on the bench, we have great leadership,” Herbers added.
After outshooting Waterloo 43-13 on Thursday, the Canada West champions double Saint Mary’s 40-20 in their second outing, including 17-5 in the opening period, which ended 1-1.
“It’s pretty simple. We only win 1-0 or 2-1 tomorrow and we go home,” said CIS coach of the year Trevor Stienburg. “This is nothing new for us. We’ve battled and overcame adversity all year. This is just another challenge. The guys will be ready.”
“We just have to remember who we are and get pucks to the net,” added Stienburg.
Koper, a sophomore forward from Edmonton, took the puck in his own end, rushed down the right wing and slammed on the breaks to create separation between himself and a defender, before firing a wrist shot that beat goaltender Anthony Peters on the glove side.
“I wasn’t really thinking about a specific spot to shoot at. I just wanted to hit the net. In overtime, anything can happen so you have to take advantage of your chances,” said the OT hero.
With Alberta leading 2-1 early in the second period, Cory Tanaka and Michael Stickland scored 29 seconds apart to give Saint Mary’s a 3-2 edge.
The two quick markers signaled the end for CIS goaltender of the year Kurtis Mucha, who allowed three goals on only 10 shots after being beaten twice on 13 shots on Thursday.
Johnny Lazo’s marker at 7:35 of the third stanza eventually forced the extra session. The Winnipeg native skated hard to the net while fighting off a check and was able to tip a Torrie Dyck centering pass past Peters.
Despite Alberta’s strong start, it was Saint Mary’s that struck first, 15:48 into the match, when Matt Tipoff jumped on a loose puck off a scramble draw and fired a low hard wrist shot that beat Mucha glove side.
The Bears answered during a power play with 18 seconds left before the first intermission. With Jeff Marchand in the box for a checking from behind penalty, Dyck walked out to the right faceoff dot and snapped a shot over the glove of Peters.
The Huskies lost Lucas Bloodoff, the CIS player of the year, 19 seconds into the second period after he received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a checking to the head penalty. Fortunately for the AUS finalists, their star forward will not be suspended following the incident.
Alberta was quick to make their rivals pay and took a 2-1 lead at 2:13 when Jordan Hickmott blasted a one-timer from the point trough a Greg Gardner screen.
The Golden Bears nearly doubled their lead later on the same power play when Brett Ferguson picked up a loose puck out of a scrum in front of the net but hit the post with his shot.
Tanaka then tied the game at 2-2 when he received a Patrick O’Keefe pass in the neutral zone and wristed a shot that squeaked under the arm of Mucha.
The Huskies scored again 29 seconds later when Brad Smith collected an Alberta turnover behind the net and slid a pass to Stickland, who cut to the net and beat Mucha on the short side.
Mucha was replaced by fifth-year veteran Réal Cyr at the 6:45 mark. The native of Victoire, Sask., was perfect the rest of the way stopping all 10 shots he faced.
“Cyr’s been good for us all year, he always gives us a chance,” said Herbers. “He stayed focused. He’s been a professional, worked hard, and been very positive. He’s a fifth-year Golden Bear.”
Peters, a native of Blyth, Ont., was solid in the Huskies loss stopping 36 of 40 shots.
Boxscore: Stats ALB SMU
Alberta 4, Saint Mary’s 3 (OT)
1. SMU Matt Tipoff (1) (Stephen Johnston), 15:48
2. ALB Torrie Dyck (2) (Sean Ringrose), 19:42 PP
Michael D’Orazio (SMU) tripping, 5:24;
Justin Wallingford (SMU) cross checking, 12:41;
Jeff Marchand (SMU) checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct, 19:24.
3. ALB Jordan Hickmott (1) (Greg Gardner, Kruise Reddick), 2:13 PP
4. SMU Cory Tanaka (1) (Patrick O’Keefe), 6:16
5. SMU Michael Stickland (1) (Brad Smith, Patrick O’Keefe), 6:45
Lucas Bloodoff (SMU) checking to the head major, game misconduct, 0:19;
Brennan Yadlowski (ALB) high sticking, 5:19;
Team (ALB) too many men (served by Torrie Dyck), 12:50;
Michael Stickland (SMU) roughing, 16:00.
6. ALB Johnny Lazo (1) (Torrie Dyck), 7:35
Ian Barteaux (ALB) interference, 0:18;
Ryan Gottschalk (SMU) tripping, 10:20;
Shawn O’Donnell (SMU) tripping, 15:02.
7. ALB Levko Koper (1) (unassisted), 2:51
GOALS (by period)
ALB: 1-1-1-1: 4
SMU: 1-2-0-0: 3
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
ALB: 17-8-11-4: 40
SMU: 5-9-5-1: 20
ALB – Kurtis Mucha (0-1, 10 shots, 7 saves, 3 GA, 26:45)
ALB – Réal Cyr (W, 1-0, 10 shots, 10 saves, 0 GA, 36:06)
SMU – Anthony Peters (L, 0-1, 40 shots, 36 saves, 4 GA, 62:51)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
ALB: Levko Koper
SMU: Anthony Peters
REFEREES: Pierre Lambert, Sean Raphael
LINESMEN: Kelsey Mahoney, Derek Craig