No.1 ranked Golden Bears too much to handle for Thunderbirds

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Edmonton, AB – The No.1 ranked Alberta Golden Bears won their 11th straight game defeating the UBC Thunderbirds 5-1 Friday night in Edmonton. With the victory Alberta improves to 12-1-0 on the season, while UBC falls to 6-5-2.

Two goals in the second period and another two goals in the third period for Alberta broke the game wide open. James Dobrowolski scored twice and Kurtis Mucha stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced to remain perfect on the season in goal.

UBC played well in the opening 20 minutes giving the Golden Bears all they could handle, unfortunately they were unable to get one by Mucha. Dobrowolski scored the lone goal in the period beating Matt Hewitt with just under five minutes remaining in the period to give Alberta a 1-0 lead after the first period of play.

The Thunderbirds wasted little time scoring the equalizer in the second period. Dillon Wagner banged in his third goal of the season to tie it 1-1, 1:16 into the frame. Dobrowolski scored his second of the game from nearly the exact same spot in the high slot just over four mintues later, beating Hewitt on the blocker side to put the home side back in front 2-1.

With Anthony Bardaro in the penalty box, the number one power play in the conference would capitalize. Jesse Craige took a great feed and found himself alone in the high slot, beating Hewitt for his second goal of the season and putting Alberta ahead 3-1. 

UBC had a number of chances to get back in the game, but Mucha was stellar stopping both Brad Hoban and Neil Manning point blank. 3-1 is how things would stand after 40 minutes.

The Golden Bears did not take their foot off the gas in the third period. Riley Kieser beat Hewitt short side for his sixth goal of the season and then Brett Ferguson finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play from Jamie Crooks and Johnny Lazo to round out the scoring with 1:40 remaining in regulation. 5-1 was the final.

“We were not very good tonight,” said UBC head coach Tyler Kuntz “It’s tough to win in this league when you try to beat yourselves and the opponent in this same game, no team is good enough to do that.”

Hewitt made 28 saves on the night, suffering the loss.

Nate Fleming, UBC’s leading scorer, did return to the line up after missing the last three games due to injury. 

“Nate (Fleming) iis important to have back but he’s just one player,” said Kuntz. “He battles and competes hard and leans into the pain. If everyone did that we would have had a much better performance tonight.”

Alberta went 1-for-5 on the power play, while UBC was 0-for-2. UBC has not scored a power play goal in its last five games.

These two teams will be back at again tomorrow. Face off is at 5:00 pm PST at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton.

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