CALGARY – After racing out to a two-goal lead in the first period, the No. 4 University of Calgary Dinos were unable to hold on against the top-ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears, falling 5-3 on Sunday evening at Father David Bauer Arena.
Looking to rebound after a 6-1 loss a night ago in Edmonton, Calgary played a game deserving of a victory but was met by an Alberta team that worked its way back into the match with a strong power play and timely scoring in the third period.
The win lifts the Golden Bears to 17-3-0 as they remain six points ahead of second place. The Dinos, now with a 13-7-0 mark, give up second place and slip into the third behind the Mount Royal Cougars.
During a power play 2:06 into the game, the Dinos converted to take an early lead. Davis Vandane sent the puck towards the net where Dylan Walchuk managed to get the puck across to Chris Collins. The Calgary native quickly sent a shot past Lucas Siemens for his eighth goal of the season.
In a game ridden with neutral zone play and a lack of quality scoring chances, neither team could convert again until the final minute of the first. An Alberta turnover led to an odd man rush by Collins and Walchuk. With the puck at the right side, Walchuk waited patiently before feeding Collins for his second of the period.
A pair of power play goals in the middle frame allowed the Golden Bears to tie the game. Jordan Rowley got the visitors on the board when his hard shot went off Kris Lazaruk and in for his third of the year at 8:07. At 17:06, the conference’s top scorer Jordan Hickmott tied the game with assists going to T.J. Foster and Brett Ferguson.
A two-on-one by the Golden Bears resulted in their first lead of the game in the third. With the puck, Foster was completely covered by a Dino defender but skillfully got the puck across to Levko Koper who made no mistake netting his sixth of the season. The lead did not last long, though, as Adam Kambeitz responded with a wicked shot less than a minute later, fooling Luke Siemens for his fifth of the campaign to tie it up at 3-3.
With less than six minutes left in the game, Alberta regained the lead on an unusual goal. Taking the puck from Koper behind the net, Foster’s shot from the side of the net somehow sneaked through a hole on Lazaruk – one that did not seem to exist – to light the lamp. The goal was Foster’s 14th of the season.
In the final minutes, the Dinos struggled to generate chances in the offensive zone as the Golden Bears shut the game down. After a timeout and a faceoff in the attacking end, Calgary could not keep the puck in, allowing Hickmott to skate in alone and fire the puck into the empty net to round out the scoring.
Alberta outshot Calgary 25-23. The Dinos went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Golden Bears went 2-for-3.
Next weekend, the Dinos travel to Saskatoon for a pair of games against the Saskatchewan Huskies from Jan. 9-10. The Golden Bears will host a pair of games from Jan. 9-10 when they take on the Regina Cougars.