The University of Alberta Golden Bears and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies are set to renew hostilities Saturday evening after both won their quarterfinal matchups on Friday to the semi-finals of the men’s hockey University Cup.
The second seeded Golden Bears kicked off the day with an 8-6 win over the Acadia Axemen in a game that was far more lopsided than the final score suggests.
The Golden Bears got off to a dream start as a backhand pass from defenseman Jason Fram set up a Riley Kieser goal to give Alberta the opening goal just 13 seconds into the game, a goal which would set the tone for the rest of the game.
After Kieser got on the board once again just over 13 minutes into the period to extend Alberta’s lead to 2-0, Acadia’s Kyle Farrell quickly responded with a goal that was assisted by Sam Fioretti and Tyler Ferry.
However, this brief shift in momentum would come to a halt in the final minute of the period after Axemen defenseman Alex Lepkowski received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for slewfooting.
Acadia did an admirable job killing off the majority of the penalty but Alberta’s powerplay unit finally found the back of the net at 3:12 in the second period as Golden Bear’s leading scorer Luke Philp knocked in a rebound of a shot from Fram.
The Golden Bears’ potent offense began to pile on after Philp’s goal, adding two more goals over the next ten minutes.
Alberta’s domination of the Axemen continued until the dying minutes of the game, when Acadia scored three goals in under a minute to cut their deficit to two goals. However, it was too little, too late—their late comeback push was not enough to undo the damage caused by their undisciplined play earlier in the game.
“I’m glad we had a lead accumulated there in the third period. As you can see it’s never over until it’s over,” said Alberta coach Serge Lajoie after the game. “It’s not often you get a win with lessons.”
Saskatchewan’s victory over McGill was far more evenly played as shots on goal remained almost identical throughout the game. However, Saskatchewan proved to be the more opportunistic of the two teams, scoring four goals on 33 shots compared to McGill’s one goal in 34 shots.
If there was any cause for concern for the Huskies it was their undisciplined play late in the game as both teams allowed their frustrations to boil over, resulting in a number of misconduct penalties and several near brawls. The Huskies need only look at what happened to Acadia to see what may await them if they play undisciplined hockey against the Golden Bears.
Penalties aside, Saskatchewan head coach Dave Adolph was happy with his team’s play in a high-pressure game.
“It’s [win] one game or go home. It’s the hardest game of the year to play, probably, because you know it’s a 364 day walk of shame if you don’t get it done,” he said. “Obviously there is going to be emotion but I thought it was good emotion. Whatever happened at the end was part of hockey and we got through it.”