EDMONTON- Ending the regular season, the No. 4 University of Alberta Golden Bear defeat the University of Manitoba Bisons 5-2 at home, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena.
Alberta found offence from five bears on the night including Nolan Volcan, Dawson Davidson, Lucas Nickles, Noah Philp and Tyler Soy all netted goals, while Matt Berlin had 11 saves in the win.
Across the ice, Manitoba generated offence from Brady Pouteau and Adam Henry, while goaltender Riley Lamb stopped 27 of 31 shots faced.
The win secures the Bears first place in Canada West standings, meaning they will receive a bye in next weekend’s quarterfinal draw and await the lowest seeded team that remains for the semifinal. Along with the bye, Alberta will also receive home-ice advantage throughout playoffs, returning to the ice February 21st at Clare Drake Arena.
The Bisons on the other hand will return to Alberta next weekend to face the University of Calgary Dinos in quarterfinal play. In previous meetings, both teams walked away with wins, splitting both series they played.
Following a dominating win over the Bisons last night, Alberta wasted no time continuing their strong play, scoring three before the first period was over. To open the scoring, the Bears found themselves with a two-on-one opportunity as they entered the offensive zone with Soy threading a perfect pass to Volcan in front for the goal, beating Lamb short side.
Not done there, the Bears were still on the hunt with Grayson Pawlenchuk sending a tape-to-tape a pass, finding a lane in front of the Bisons net for Davidson, who was waiting on the doorstep to tap it in for a 2-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, the Bears where back on the board with Nickels streaking in on another two-on-one and going far post for a tap in goal, allowing Alberta an easy 3-0 after one period of play.
However, Manitoba came out in the second with fire, controlling a majority of the play with Pouteau breaking the goose egg for Manitoba when his point shot tipped off a Bears defender, finding its way in for the Bisons first goal of the weekend.
Still looking to close the gap, Manitoba’s Liam Schioler and Dylan Thiessen teamed up to create an odd man rush with Henry’s wrist shot finishing the play and bring the Bisons within one.
Unsatisfied, the Bears made quick work on the Power play with Philp’s one-timer finding the back of the net, giving the Bears a two-goal cushion midway through the second frame.
With playoff positional standing implications on the line, the Bisons emptied their next with less than two minutes to play, but it was too little, too late as Soy sealed the deal with an empty netter to end the game.
Next weekend the Bisons will travel to meet the Dinos in their quarterfinal match up, while the Bears will have a bye and await their next match up on February 21st at Clare Drake Arena.