Sunday, March 15, 2015

Golden Bears Deny V-Reds

The #1 ranked Alberta Golden Bears shut down the high powered University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds en route to a 6-3 victory in the University Cup final tonight in Halifax. It is Alberta's record 15th National Championship.

The Golden Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the 1st period and the V-Reds were never able to get over the hump. Dylan Willick scored at 3:05 of the 2nd period to cut the lead in half. Perhaps the turning point came late in the period when UNB couldn't do anything on back to back power plays and then Johnny Lazo scored with 3.6 seconds remaining to give Alberta a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd. The V-Reds kept on battling back though. Philippe Maillet tipped a Jordan Murray shot at 7:55 to make it 3-2. Kruise Reddick made it 4-2 with Alberta's 2nd power play goal of the game at 11:12, but Adrian Robertson's fluttering shot made it 4-3 with 4:10 remaining. UNB was then awarded a late power play with a chance to tie the game, but a turnover led to a 2-on-0 break for Alberta and Levko Koper notched the shorthanded goal. Jordan Rowley capped the scoring with another shorthanded goal, this time into an empty net.

- UNB got a bit of a taste of their own medicine as they were out-shot 24-9 in the game, including 14-3 in the 3rd period. It has been a long time since the Varsity Reds weren't able to get at least 10 shots on goal in a game. Usually it is UNB who locks things down in the 3rd period, but not on this night.

- The story of the game, besides Alberta's defensive play and exceptional shot blocking, was the special teams. The Golden Bears went 2 for 5 on the power play and scored 2 shorthanded goals. UNB was 0 for 7 and didn't look particularly dangerous on any of them. They had a couple of power plays while trailing by a goal and couldn't take advantage.

- Attendance was 4404 on a snowy night in Halifax.

- Dylan Willick and Levko Koper were named the player's of the game.

- UNB is now 5-5 all-time in national finals, including 0-3 against Alberta.

- Jordan Murray and Cam Braes were named to the tournament all-star team.

- Guelph defeated UQTR 3-2 in overtime earlier today to win the bronze medal.

- While it is obviously a very disappointing end to the season for the Varsity Reds we should all be proud of the what they accomplished this season. They are an extremely young team who were playing a veteran Golden Bears team - many of whom played in last year's final. The fact that they finished 1st in the AUS in the regular season, won the AUS Championship, and made the National Championship game with so many players in their 1st or 2nd year is quite impressive and this learning experience should only serve them well moving forward. If there is one thing we can all be sure of, it's that Gardiner MacDougall and Co. will be doing all they can over the summer to make the V-Reds even stronger next season.