SASKATOON – Three third period goals in a span of less than three minutes led the University of Alberta Golden Bears to a 6-2 win in Game 3 of the Canada West men’s hockey final over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Sunday night in Saskatoon’s Rutherford Rink.
It is Alberta’s 27th title and 15th in the last 17 seasons.
The Golden Bears’ scoring spree started with a Jamie Crooks goal at 6:35 on the power play. Taylor Cooper added the third six minutes later at 8:42, followed by Crooks’ second just nine seconds later at 8:51. The first Crooks’ goal marked the first lead in the game for the Golden Bears. Crooks scored the empty netter at 19:30 for a hat trick.
“We knew coming in [to the series], it would be very difficult,” said Golden Bears head coach Serge Lajoie. “We have the upmost respect for the Huskies and knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Our compete level was exactly where it needed to be. We were just hopeful we would get rewarded for all the hard work.”
Carson Stadnyk opened the scoring at 4:56 in the first period. The Golden Bears couldn’t clear an offensive Saskatchewan strike. Levi Cable and Kohl Bauml were able to cycle the puck from behind the net to Stadnyk, who potted the puck from the right side.
Alberta caught a break to open the second period when an errant Huskie pass at the blue line resulted in an Alberta shorthanded breakaway. Luke Philp beat Jordon Cooke at 1:30 to tie the game.
Saskatchewan’s Connor Gay took the lead back on the power play eight minutes later. A Brendan Burke rebound bounced out to Gay who found the net at 9:37.
Cole Sanford tied the game at 18:11 on the power play when a quick pass across the ice found his stick. His shot flipped over Cooke’s shoulder.
The Golden Bears took their first lead of the game at 6:35 in the third period. Jamie Crooks received a pass tight and low from Stephane Legault and flipped over Cooke’s shoulder. Cooper settled a pass in his hands to score at 8:42 after the Huskies’ failed to clear the zone. Crooks scored his second on a slapshot at 8:51 after the Bears’ won the faceoff after the Cooper goal.
Jordan Tkatch cut the Bears’ lead to two at 11:56 on a scramble in front of Burke, but the Crooks empty net goal sealed the win.
Burke finished the game making 32 saves for the Bears, while Cooke stopped 29 at the other end of the ice for Saskatchewan.
Both Saskatchewan and Alberta advance to the University Cup hosted by the UNB Varsity Reds March 16-19 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.