CANADA WEST REPORT 8
Monday, December 04, 2006
Both the second ranked Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies completed the first half of the Canada West Hockey season with series sweeps on Friday-Sunday, December 1st-3rd – the final weekend of conference play prior to the Christmas break.The second ranked Golden Bears took both ends of their home-and-home series against the eighth ranked Calgary Dinos, winning 2-1 in Calgary on Friday and concluded the sweep with a 5-3 win at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton on Saturday. With its fifth series sweep of the season, Alberta improved its conference record to 12-2-2 and increased their lead over second place Calgary to six points in the Mountain Division standings.
In Saskatoon, the sixth ranked Huskies extended their winning streak to four games with 7-2 and 4-0 wins over the visiting Manitoba Bisons. Assistant captain Keegan McAvoy was involved in six of the Huskies’ seven goals in the series opener on Friday, scoring twice, including the game winning goal, and adding four assists. The fifth-year forward added a third goal on Saturday as Saskatchewan completed the sweep with a 4-0. Sophomore goaltender Jeff Harvey made 23 saves to register his second shutout of the season.
The third and final series of the weekend saw the UBC Thunderbirds and Lethbridge Pronghorns split their series in Vancouver. Andrew Courtney scored twice and Brandon Highton made 34 saves to lead the Pronghorns to a 6-2 win in the series opener, before the Thunderbirds rallied for the series split with a 6-3 win on Sunday afternoon. Both games were played at General Motors Place.
Following the weekend, Alberta and Saskatchewan stand atop their respective divisions heading into the Christmas break. The Golden Bears hold top spot in the Mountain Division, six points ahead of Calgary, while Saskatchewan also has a six point lead over both Manitoba and the Regina Cougars, who had the bye in the conference schedule this past weekend, in the Great Plains Division.
The opening game of the “Battle of Alberta” was a goaltending duo between Aaron Sorochan of Alberta and Calgary’s Scott Talbot. The two nemtnders combined to make 64 saves in the Golden Bears 2-1 victory. Sorochan, who was the 2005-06 CIS Freshman of the Year, stopped 34 of 35 shots in backstopping Alberta to the series opening victory, while Talbot allowed only two goals on 32 shots.
Lee Zalasky opened the scoring for Alberta at 17:19 of the first period before Calgary defenceman Travis Friedley tied the score with a powerplay goal only 19 seconds into the third period. The teams remained tied until 14:16, when Ben Kilgour tipped Derek Price’s point shot past Talbot for the victory.
In the series finale in Edmonton on Saturday, freshmen forwards Dale Mahovsky and Brian Woolger scored goals five minutes apart in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and lead Alberta to a 5-3 win before a crowd of 1,253. Dylan Stanley scored twice and Ian McDonald had a single goal to give the Golden Bears a 3-1 first period lead, but the Dinos rallied to tie the score in the second. Tyrel Lucas scored a powerplay goal in the first for Calgary, before Aaron Richards and Paul Gentile scored in the middle frame. Wade Davis had assists on all three goals for the Dinos.
With the game appearing to be headed to overtime, Mahovsky broke the tie with Alberta’s fourth goal at 10:57 of the third period. The first-year forward wrested a bullet high to the top corner past Talbot to give Alberta a 4-3 lead. The Golden Bears sealed their conference leading 12th win, as Woolger beat Talbot five hole on a breakaway at 15:48.
Both Mahovsky and Woolger registered three-point games with a goal and two assists, while freshman defenceman Kyle Fecho added three assists for the Golden Bears.
McAvoy was the offensive catalyst for Saskatchewan with his six-point outing on Friday night in Saskatoon. The six points are the most scored by a player in one game this season and it is t