EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Golden Bears scored three times in the final three minutes of the second period to vault themselves over the Mount Royal Cougars 4-2, Friday night at Clare Drake Arena. With the win, the Bears improve to 3-2-0, while handing MRU (4-1-0) their first loss of the season.
Jayden Hart, Luke Philp, Tyson Baillie, and Jamie Crooks all scored for Alberta. Luke Siemens, who was making his first start of the season, stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced for the win. Colton Waltz and Zack Henry scored for the visitors.
The two U Sports Top Ten teams got off to a timid start, with neither team creating much offence in the opening frame. The Bears held the slight 11-7 shot advantage after 20, holding on to a majority of the possession, ringing two shots off the Cougar post.
Things really ramped up in the second, as the teams scored all six combined goals in the middle frame.
Hart opened the scoring three minutes in, blowing an absolute bullet of a shot past Colin Cooper from the top of the Cougar faceoff circle. The Cougars, however, were quick to respond, tying the game just three minutes later. Waltz’s low point shot beat a screened and late-to-react Siemens, evening the tilt at one.
Alberta and Mount Royal would finish the second on a wild scoring run, combining for four goals in the final three and a half minutes. Philp started the fun with his second of the season, roofing a backhand shot over a sliding Cooper from in tight.
The Cougars quickly responded again. Henry received a breakaway pass from Mitch Amatto just inside the Alberta zone, beating Siemens while being hooked down with a seemingly impossible shot from a foot outside the crease.
The back-and-forth action didn’t stop there, as Baillie scored his third goal in the last two games 12 seconds later. After beating the MRU defence with a slick dangle, the first-year Bear was able to grab his own rebound off the breakaway chance, bouncing the puck off a confused Cooper’s skate and into the open Cougar net.
Crooks would cap off the craziness, adding to his Canada West goal lead with another sweet backhand shot over a sprawling Cooper.
The Cougars were unable to generate another tally in the third period, with a too many men on the ice penalty in the final two minutes sealing their fate.
Alberta and MRU will continue the Battle of Alberta tomorrow, as the series shifts to Calgary for the rubber match.