REGINA, Sask. - The Alberta Golden Bears went ahead early in the first on a goal by Drew Nichol and never looked back as they skated to a 5-0 win over the Regina Cougars in Canada West men’s hockey action on Friday night.
Johnny Lazo, Travis Toomey, Torrie Dyck and Jordan Hickmott also scored for Alberta, while Kurtis Mucha made 23 saves between the pipes for his third shutout of the year. Andrew Hayes turned aside 32 shots in a losing effort for the Cougars.
The Cougars came out strong to start the game, and with a great vocal crowd on hand they controlled the play early. Less than two minutes into the period the Cougars got the first power play opportunity of the game, but couldn’t get much going with a very aggressive penalty kill from the Golden Bears.
Alberta stuck first just under five minutes into the frame. Nichol fired a quick wrister from the top of the circle that beat Hayes top shelf. The Golden Bears continued to apply pressure, and added to their lead midway through the period. With Christian Magnus in the box for slashing, Alberta patiently passed the puck around the offensive zone until Lazo finally snapped one home from the slot to put his team up 2-0.
While the Cougars couldn’t get on the board they had several quality chances, including a great rush by Carter Selinger who deked past two Alberta defenders, but couldn’t put the puck past Mucha.
Alberta opened the second period on the power play, as Brody Luhning took a hooking penalty with four seconds left in the first. But the Cougars managed to hold off the Golden Bears before getting a chance of their own with the man advantage. Once again though the Cougars struggled to set up in the Alberta zone and Hayes had to make a huge glove save off a great shorthanded chance by the Golden Bears.
The play went back and forth for the rest of the period. The Cougars had some great chances including one in the offensive zone with several players hacking at a loose puck in the slot, but Mucha somehow kept the puck out. While both teams had another opportunity on the power play, nobody could find the back of the net. With just seconds left on the clock the Golden Bears broke away on a 2-on-0 rush, but Hayes made a great pad save to keep his team within two.
The Golden Bears began to pull away in the third. Less than five minutes in Toomey picked up a rebound from an Ian Barteaux point shot on a delayed penalty to put Alberta up 3-0. The Golden Bears continued to control most of the play and added to their lead late in the frame. With 3:54 to play, Dyck found the back of the net for Alberta after the puck went off a few bodies in front of the net. Twenty-nine seconds later Hickmott skated through the slot, deked around the Cougars’ defence and beat Hayes glove side to seal the win for the Golden Bears.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night to wrap up the weekend series. Puck drop at The Co-operators Centre is at 7 p.m. CT.