EDMONTON - Cole Sanford recorded a first period hat-trick, while also adding an assist and seven shots, leading the second-ranked Alberta Golden Bears to a 7-3 win over the Mount Royal Cougars, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena.
The two teams combined for nine goals in an explosive first period, with Alberta leading 6-3 after 20. Lucas Nickles, Grayson Pawlenchuk, Dawson Davidson and Noah Philp also scored for the Bears, who swept the Cougars this weekend, scoring 15 goals in two games.
Brendan Burke earned the win for Alberta, improving to 10-0-0, despite allowing three goals on seven shots, and getting pulled 16 minutes into the first. Matt Berlin stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief.
Wyatt Hoflin allowed all six first period goals on 18 shots, with Riley Morris allowing just one goal on 27 shots after coming in to start the second.
Hunter Zandee, Jamal Watson and Tyson Helgesen scored for the Cougars, who drop to 11-7-2 in conference play. Alberta's win pushes them to 17-3-0, and four points clear of Calgary for first in the conference standings.
After the explosive first, which saw nine goals, six powerplays and a hat-trick, the two teams settled into a groove for the later two frames. Philp scored the lone goal over the final 40 minutes, while both Berlin and Morris were stellar coming in relief.
Coming in with the No. 1 ranked powerplay, Mount Royal went 0/5 on Saturday, giving up a handful of shorthanded chances against as well. The Cougars also struggled to generate high-quality chances at five-on-five, with Berlin stopping every chance he faced.
The Bears will stay at home next weekend, as they host the Lethbridge Pronghorns at Clare Drake Arena. MRU, meanwhile, will host the surging Regina Cougars in Calgary.