Massive comeback from University of Alberta Golden Bears punch their ticket to Canada West Finals
By Zach Laing21 days ago
The comeback kids made it happen.
After dropping game one of their three-game semi-final series against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, the University of Alberta Golden Bears launched a once seemingly improbable comeback to punch their ticket to the Canada West finals.
The Alberta side had a sluggish start to their series on Friday night dropping a 4-3 decision to a Thunderbirds side that showed up ready to play. UBC jumped out to a 1-0 lead 17:16 into the game in thanks to a Jake Kryski goal, and by the end of the second, their lead was extended to 3-1. The Bears turned it on in the third period getting goals from Daneel Lategan and Tyler Prezuiso, but it was too little too late.
Things didn’t start off hot Saturday night for game two, either. UBC’s Scott Atkinson and Chris Douglas both scored goals in tight in the first period giving them a big lead. But halfway through the second period, the Golden Bears flipped a switch. It was partially led by captain Matt Fonteyne, who along with Prezuiso scored to tie the game heading into the third. Then, the Golden Bears kept pouring it on as Fonteyne would score again, as Jakin Smallwood added another in a 4-3 win. It was a back and forth affair all night long in what was one of the craziest games I can recall seeing.
And on Sunday, the Golden Bears kept pouring it on. Adam Hall broke open the scoring 15:53 into the game, and this was a game largely dominated by the Alberta side. While Jordan Sandhu scored early in the second for the TBirds, it was defenceman Wyatt McLeod and sniper Josh Prokop who each found twine to extend Alberta’s lead to 3-1 heading into the third.
And boy — what a third it was. Jared Frederich scored the eventual game-winner for the Bears at the 11:04 mark, but the TBirds refused to go away. Atkinson scored at 14:47, before Hall responded with his second of the game moments later. Then, with the goalie Kaden Lane pulled, Liam Kindree scored for the UBC side before the Golden Bears held on to win 6-3.
“The guys finally got pissed off, and started playing mad. They knew they had better in them, and they proved it starting yesterday,” said Bears head coach Ian Herbers. “It wasn’t pretty at times, but our powerplay yesterday and today was the difference.”
Hall, who had one of his best games of the season, said the team knew they just needed to play their game.
“I thought I played well all series, and tonight the puck just went in. Our line was clicking all night,” said Adam Hall. “We realized in Game 2 we needed to play our game, and play playoff hockey. We knew when we played Bears hockey, we can beat anyone, but it took us four periods to get it going.”
Next up for the Golden Bears is a trip down the QE2 to visit the powerhouse Calgary Dinos in the Canada West finals. Calgary had an incredible season going 25-3-3 on the season and carried a staggering 23-0 record into the playoffs this season. They dropped game one of their semi-final matchup against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, but won games two and three to punch their ticket to hosting their first finals since 1996.
The Bears and Dinos will meet for the 13th time in the Canada West Finals with the Bears sweeping each of the last two series back in 2014 and 2015.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
Recent articles from Zach Laing