Mar 14, 2015
Photo credit Mona Ghiz
HALIFAX (CIS) – The defending national champion Alberta Golden Bears will defend their CIS University Cup hockey title after skating to a 5-1 semi-final victory over the UQTR Patriotes Saturday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre.
In a battle of the top two ranked teams in the country, the No. 1 Golden Bears will face-off against the No. 2 UNB Varsity Reds Sunday evening for gold.
“It doesn’t matter who it is we are going to play, we will play the same game,” Golden Bear head coach Ian Herbers said of tomorrow’s title match-up, noting one of his team’s focuses is forcing and capitalizing on other teams’ mistakes.
“We are going to go right after UNB. We won’t change our game plan,” he added.
On only their second shot of the game against UQTR, the tournament top-seed Golden Bears took the lead at 1:14 of the first period. Captain Kruise Reddick, his team’s player of the game, seemed to catch Patriotes goaltender Guillaume Nadeau off guard with his shot that went in short side. There was even a delayed crowd reaction to the red light coming on behind the UQTR net. Johnny Lazo and Brennan Yadlowski collected assists.
“It is really important to get a lead and not have to come from behind,” Reddick said, when asked about the benefit of scoring first.
UQTR had their best early chance when defenseman Martin Lefebvre pinched in from the blue line. His wrist shot from the slot rang off the right goal post behind Alberta starter Luke Siemens.
On the first power play of the game, Jamie Crooks of the Golden Bears had an open net in deep, but Nadeau dove across his crease to rob the forward of giving his team a two-goal lead.
With the man advantage late in the first period, UQTR pressed for the equalizer, but could not get a puck behind Siemens, including a couple of opportunities during a feverish goal mouth scramble.
Alberta outshot UQTR 12-7 after 20 minutes.
Less than one minute into the second period, UQTR went to the power play, but they came up empty.
At around the five-minute mark, the Golden Bears put pressure on, with Nadeau making five saves in a short time span. Alberta failed to get traffic in front of the UQTR backstop during the barrage.
Despite the Patriotes having an early man-advantage, the Golden Bears held a 7-1 edge in shots during the first six minutes of the second period.
With less than nine minutes left in the middle frame, Canada West player of the year T.J. Foster had a wrap-around attempt but Nadeau made the save, while on the ensuing play the UQTR goaltender got his blocker on a hard point shot from defenseman Jordan Rowley.
The Golden Bears went to the power play with under five minutes remaining in the second, after Rhett Rachinski was hooked as he tried to corral a pass from Foster on a two-on-one breakaway.
Just 12 seconds into the special team opportunity, Alberta took a 2-0 lead when Brett Ferguson beat Nadeau with a waist-high re-direction from the top of the crease. Jordan Hickmott, who put the shot on goal from the side boards, garnered the assist at 15:39.
With 1:02 left in the period, the Golden Bears extended to a 3-0 advantage on a tally by forward Levko Koper. He picked up the puck from an offensive zone face-off, walked in and beat Nadeau with a high wrist shot. Lazo and Reddick, both with their second points of the game, assisted.
In the second period, the Golden Bears outshot the Patriotes 16-4.
The best scoring opportunities at the start of the third period came on an Alberta power play, with Thomas Carr hitting the goal post with a blast from the blue line, while seconds later Reddick was thwarted by Nadeau on a shot from the slot.
Just before the midway point of the third period, UQTR had a chance with the man-advantage, but they could not muster up any quality scoring opportunities against a solid Alberta penalty kill.
At 10:03, Hickbottom made it 4-0 for the Golden Bears when he beat Nadeau high glove side. The marker, which came five seconds into a power play, was assisted by Ferguson and Jesse Craige. For Hickbottom and Craige, it was the second point of the game for each player.
UQTR captain Tommy Tremblay, on assists from Lefevbre and Mikaël Langlois, put his team on the board during a power play. From the lip of the crease, he deflected the puck between the legs of Siemens with 6:34 remaining in regulation.
Hickbottom, with his second, scored into an empty net at the 19-minute mark. Rowley collected an assist.
For the game, Alberta outshot UQTR 42-17.
Siemens made 16 saves for the win, while Nadeau, the UQTR player of the game, turned aside 37 shots in the loss.
The Patriotes will face the Guelph Gryphons in the bronze medal game Sunday at 2 p.m., which will be a re-match of the OUA Queen’s Cup championship game.
The Gryphons won 4-0.
“We have to make some little adjustments, but the main thing is we have to have more desire, which wasn’t there in the Queen’s Cup,” Tremblay said.
Hubert said his team will re-group after the semi-final loss. “We will be ready for the bronze medal game,” he added.
The CIS University Cup championship clash will get underway at 6 p.m. at Scotiabank Centre.
“It has been our goal from Day 1,” Reddick said when asked about having the opportunity to defend their championship. “Not only for ourselves as individuals, but also for our program and its great history.” The Golden Bears program will be playing for its 15th Canadian university title.
1. ALB Kruise Reddick (2) (Johnny Lazo, Brennan Yadlowski), 1:14
Boudreau (UQTR) tripping, 6:54;
Bredo (ALB) tripping, 15:33
2. ALB Brett Ferguson (1) (Jordan Hickmott) 15:39 PP
3. ALB Levko Koper (1) (Johnny Lazo, Kruise Reddick) 18:58
Rowley (ALB) holding, 0:54;
Verret (UQTR) hooking, 15:27
4. ALB Jordan Hickmott (2) (Jesse Craig, Brett Fergsuon) 10:03 PP
5. UQTR Tommy Tremblay (1) (Mikael Langlois, Martin Lefebvre) 13:26 PP
6. ALB Jordan Hickmott (3) (Jordan Rowley) 19:00
Boudreau (UQTR) tripping, 4:36
Crooks (ALB) roughing, 7:56
Morin )UQTR) interference, 9:58
Rachinski (ALB) high sticking, 13:00
GOALS (by period)
ALB 1-2-2: 5
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
ALB 12-16-14: 42
ALB – Luke Siemens (W, 1-0, 17 shots, 16 saves, 1 GA, 60:00)
UQTR – Guillaume Nadeau (L, 1-1, 42 shots, 37 saves, 5 GA, 58:06)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
ALB: Kruise Reddick
UQTR: Guillaume Nadeau
Referees: Johnathan Langille, T.J. Foster
Linesmen: Josh De Young, Nicolas Melanson
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times ATLANTIC TIME)
Thursday, March 12
13:00 Quarter-final 1: Guelph 3, Calgary 1
19:00 Quarter-final 2: UNB 6, Windsor 2
Friday, March 13
13:00 Quarter-final 3: UQTR 6, Acadia 5 (OT)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Alberta 5, StFX 1
Saturday, March 14
12:00 Semifinal 1: UNB 5, Guelph 2
16:00 Semifinal 2: Alberta 5, UQTR 1
* The webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.