Courtesy of host organizing committee / Photo creditJosh Schaefer Photography
SASKATOON (CIS) – Levko Koper scored twice, including thegame-winner, to lead the top-seeded University of Alberta GoldenBears to a 3-1 victory over the host Saskatchewan Huskies in theCIS men’s hockey championship final, Sunday afternoon,marking the record 14th University Cup triumph for the powerhousefrom Edmonton.
It was the first national championship since 2008 for the Bears,who were skating in their 19th CIS title match, another all-timemark. With the win, Alberta improved to 6-0 overall this seasonagainst its archrival from the Canada West conference.
The final of the PotashCorp University Cup presented by Co-opwas played in front of 6,289 fans at Credit Union Centre, liftingthe seven-game total to 41,089, a new standard for the 52-year-oldtournament. The previous standard of 40,956 had been set in 2000 atCredit Union Centre, then known as Saskatchewan Place.
“It was a long time coming,” said Ian Herbers, whowas in his second campaign behind the U of A bench and had won atitle as a player with the Bears back in 1992. The guys worked sohard all year, going back to their off-season training last summer.There’s so much leadership in our locker room. The focus anddetermination of our player was phenomenal.
“We’re a hard-working team, that’s Bearshockey. This weekend we were very aggressive on the forecheck andon the penalty-kill. We were able to play three very solid gamesand that’s what you need to win this championship.”
His Saskatchewan counterpart Dave Adolph, whose program’slone CIS title dates back to 1983, was proud of his troops despitethe heartbreaking loss.
“It’s hard to win a national championship. Our guysgave it everything they had. They fought their way to credibilityand proved they belonged in this tournament. Today, they just raninto a powerhouse.”
The game’s turning point came with five minutes remainingin the second frame. Up 1-0 thanks to a Jordan Hickmott goal earlyin the period, the Bears found themselves down one man for fiveminutes after Johnny Lazo earned a major penalty and a gamemisconduct for hitting an opponent from behind.
With one minute to go in the major, Koper and James Dobrowolskiwere able to take off on a two-on-one and Koper took a perfect passfrom his teammate before beating netminder Ryan Holfeld with a highwrist shot on the glove side.
A few moments earlier, Matthew Spafford came inches away fromtying the contest at one all but his backhand shot hit the post tothe left of veteran goalie Kurtis Mucha.
“I’m not going to lie, on the winning goal, I kindof closed my eyes and hoped it goes in,” said Koper, who wasnamed player of the match for Alberta. It’s an amazingfeeling. There are no words to describe how we feel rightnow.”
Unfazed by the two-goal deficit, the Huskies needed only oneminute to respond and get on the board. Left uncovered in front ofthe net, Canada West MVP Derek Hulak received the puck from JoshRoach and one-timed it past Mucha.
“We gave everything we had for three straight games. Weleft nothing on the ice, said Hulak, who, despite the loss, meritedthe Major W.J. Danny McLeod Award as tournament MVP after leadingthe competition in goals (4) and points (6). “Hats off toAlberta, they’re a formidable team.”
In the third, Alberta was able to protect its slim lead andKoper finally added an insurance marker with six minutes left inregulation, once again on a two-on-one, this one with TravisToomey.
The Bears finished with a significant 36-21 advantage in shotson goal, including 7-5 in the first stanza, 13-8 in the second and16-8 in the third.
Both teams were blanked on the power play, Alberta in sixoccasions and Saskatchewan on three opportunities.
In addition to Hulak (4-2-6), Bears forwards Brett Ferguson(1-4-5) and Kruise Reddick (1-4-5), Alberta defenceman Jesse Craig,Saskatchewan rearguard Kendall McFaull and goalie JacobGervais-Chouinard from the McGill Redmen were named championshipall-stars.
GAME NOTES: In the preliminary round, Alberta took first placein Pool A thanks to a 3-2 win over Carleton and a 3-2 victory indouble overtime against McGill… Saskatchewan topped Pool Bfollowing wins over Acadia, 3-2, and Windsor, 9-0… It was thesecond CIS final between Alberta and Saskatchewan, with the Bearswinning the only previous gold-medal duel 4-3 in extra time in 2005at Edmonton… The 2005 championship match was also the onlyprevious final between Canada West teams.
MVP (Major W.J. ‘Danny’ McLeodAward): Derek Hulak, Saskatchewan
Goaltender: Jacob Gervais-Chouinard, McGill
Defenceman: Jesse Craig, Alberta
Defenceman: Kendall McFaull, Saskatchewan
Forward: Derek Hulak, Saskatchewan
Forward: Brett Ferguson, Alberta
Forward: Kruise Reddick, Alberta
Ferguson (ALB) holding, 6:15;
Stebner (SSK) roughing, 8:05;
Rowley (ALB) tripping, 18:21;
McDonald (SSK) high sticking, 18:29;
Delahey (SSK) checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct,20:00.
1. ALB Jordan Hickmott (1) (Brett Ferguson, Jamie Crooks),4:02
2. ALB Levko Koper (1) (James Dobrowolski), 15:19 SH
3. SSK Derek Hulak (4) (Joshua Roach, Brennan Bosch), 16:38
Dulle (SSK) elbowing, 6:51;
Lazo (ALB) major-boarding, game misconduct, 11:16;
Cox (SSK) high sticking, 19:15.
4. ALB Levko Koper (2) (Travis Toomey, Kruise Reddick),14:12
Smuk (SSK) boarding, 6:02.
GOALS (by period)
ALB 0-2-1: 3
SSK 0-1-0: 1
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
ALB 7-13-16: 36
SSK 5-8-8: 21
ALB – Kurtis Mucha (W, 2-0, 21 shots, 20 saves, 1 GA,60:00)
SSK – Ryan Holfeld (L, 2-1, 36 shots, 33 saves, 3 GA,59:14)
SSK – Empty net (0 GA, 0:46)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
ALB: Levko Koper
SSK: Ryan Holfeld
REFEREES: Nathan Wieler, Pascal St. Jacques
LINESMEN: Nick Bilko, Ryan Lundquist
POOLSTANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS (LOCAL TIME)
Pool A standings (FINAL)
GP W L GF GA PTS
1. ALB 2 2 0 6 4 4
2. McG 2 1 1 5 5 2
3. CAR 2 0 2 4 6 0
Pool B standings (FINAL)
1. SSK 2 2 0 12 2 4
2. WSR 2 1 1 4 11 2
3. ACA 2 0 2 4 7 0
Thursday, March 20
13:00 Pool A #1: Alberta 3, Carleton 2
19:00 Pool B #1: Windsor 4, Acadia 2
Friday, March 21
13:00 Pool A #2: McGill 3, Carleton 2
19:00 Pool B #2: Saskatchewan 3, Acadia 2
Saturday, March 22
14:00 Pool A #3: Alberta 3, McGill 2 (2OT)
19:00 Pool B #3: Saskatchewan 9, Windsor 0
Sunday, March 23
13:30 Final: Alberta 3, Saskatchewan 1
About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body ofuniversity sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and700 coaches from 55 universities and four regional associations viefor 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS alsoprovides high performance international opportunities for Canadianstudent-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well asnumerous world university championships. For further information,visit www.cis-sic.ca or followus on: