LETHBRIDGE – Exploding for five second period goals, the fourth ranked Alberta Golden Bears blew open a 1-1 tie to skate to a 8-1 win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns in the first of a two game set at Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge.
The Bears scored two goals in a span of 16-seconds early in the second period which opened the flood gates and Alberta never looked back.
With the win the Golden Bears improve to 19-3-1 and will remain in first place or a tie for first depending the outcome between Saskatchewan and UBC in Vancouver. The Bears and Huskies entered the weekend tied for the top spot in Canada West.
The loss drops the Pronghorns record to 8-12-3 and are now tied with the Calgary Dinos for the final playoff spot in Canada West, following the Dinos 4-2 win over the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary.
Pronghorn goaltender Garret Hughson made 34 saves before being relieved by Ty Edmonds, who stopped nine of 12 shots he faced. At the other end, Brendan Burke turned aside 27 shots to pick up his ninth win of the season.
Jamie Crooks and Steven Owre each scored twice for the Bears, while Alberta also got singles from Trevor Cox, Stephane Legault, Brandon Magee and Jason Fram. Ryon Moser scored the lone marker for the Pronghorns.
The Pronghorns opened the scoring with the man advantage. Following a faked shot, Ryon Moser swung behind the net and beat Bears goaltender Brendan Burke to the far post with the wrap around for fourth of the season.
With just over two minutes remaining in the opening period Alberta would strike to tie the game at one. Luke Philp dropped a pass as he entered the zone to Trevor Cox, walking off the half wall, Cox made no mistake picking the far blocker side. The goal was Cox’s third of the season.
In a choppy first 20 minutes with plenty of stoppages, the Bears outshot the Pronghorns 13-12.
The second period was all Golden Bears, bombarding Pronghorn goaltenders with 24 shots and scoring five times to build a 5-1 lead.
Following a penalty kill that continued from the first period, the Bears struck twice in a matter of 16-seconds. Jaime Crooks roofed a rebound at the side of the net for his conference leading 15th goal of the season. Brandon Magee banged home another rebound to put the Bears up 3-1.
On a power-play of their own, Stephane Legault was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce to pick up the Bears third goal of the period. Legault’s centering pass deflected off a Pronghorn defender and past a surprised Hughson.
Steven Owre finished off a nifty three-way passing play with a tap-in on a helpless Hughson and that goal spelled the end of Hughson’s night and Owre welcomed Ty Edmonds with his second of the night only minutes later to round out the second period scoring.
Jason Fram scored Alberta’s seventh goal of the game, while Crooks picked up his second of the night with just over five minutes to play to round out the scoring.
Alberta finished the night two for three on the power-play and the Pronghorns lone goal came on one of their five chances with the man advantage.
The same two teams will hit the ice tomorrow night at Nicholas Sheran Arena, puck drop is slated for 7:00pm. Catch all the action on www.canadawest.tv.