EDMONTON – Proving their hot start was no fluke; the Mount Royal Cougars stormed into Clare Drake Arena, and cruised past the U SPORTS No. 1 ranked Alberta Golden Bears 7-3 on Friday night.
Connor Chartier scored twice, while nine different Cougars found the scoresheet, as Mount Royal ended a 15-game conference losing streak to Alberta with the convincing win.
Jesse Lees finished with four assists, with Connor Rankin, Jamal Watson, Keegan Iverson, Connor Blake and Riley Lindgren also scoring for MRU on Friday night.
Wyatt Hoflin turned in a solid start for the visitors, turning aside 36 of the 39 shots he faced. Bears starter Brendan Burke was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots in less than 20 minutes, before replacement Matt Berlin allowed another three on 19 shots.
Steven Owre, Ben Carroll and Grayson Pawlenchuk scored for Alberta, who outshot the Cougars 39-28, but were undone by uncharacteristically sloppy play and costly mistakes.
The win vaults the 4-1-0 Cougars past the 4-1-0 Bears in the conference standings, as they trail only the undefeated Calgary Dinos.
The Cougars scored three in the opening period, including Rankin’s third of the season on an early powerplay, and a shorthanded penalty shot goal by Chartier late in the frame. Watson’s goal late in the first ended Burke’s night.
The Bears showed signs of life late in the first and early in the second, with Owre redirecting a shot past Hoflin late in the first period, before Carroll cut MRU’s lead down to one with his goal early in the second.
However, Hoflin settled in after allowing the second goal, making 10 saves in the frame, en route to his first win of the season.
Chartier restored the Cougars two-goal lead late in the second, beating Berlin on a four-on-one Cougar rush.
The third period was all Mount Royal, as they scored another three goals on 11 shots, including an empty netter with two minutes left. Both goals that beat Berlin were from distance that found it’s way over the 6-4 Bears goalie’s shoulder.
The two provincial foes will travel south for the series finale, with the Cougars hosting the Bears at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night at the Flames Community Arena in Calgary.