Hailey Dirk, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars and University of Alberta Golden Bears' men's hockey teams clashed on Friday at the Flames Community Arena. The Cougars were coming oﬀ a loss, while, the Golden Bears' last game resulted in a win. Bert Gilling, the head coach of the Cougars, said before the game that they were "excited to be playing the defending national champions." He continued to say that it's "always exciting to play against Alberta, and it's also a great measuring stick for us to play against their team." After a slow start, the game picked up after Brad Kennedy scored the first goal of the game for the Cougars. Alberta swiftly responded and the Golden Bears lead going into the third period. The Cougars caught up only to be sent into overtime, where the Golden Bears took the win at 4-3.
The game opened to fast-paced action between the two Albertan teams, with either only managing to take a few shots on the other team's net in the first period.
The second period opened with zero goals, but with the Cougars leading the 7-5 shot ratio. The Golden Bears responded by ramping up their shots until the Cougars scored the first goal of the game. Cougars forward Brad Kennedy scored just 5 minutes into the second period. Following their goal the Cougars forward Mitch Lipon was given a penalty. The Golden Bears utilized the power-play and brought the game back to even after a Luke Philp shot beat Cougars goalie Colin Cooper. Later on, with the Cougars down two men, Luke Philp scored another goal for the Golden Bears. Just over halfway into the second period, the score was 2-1 for the Golden Bears.
The third period started it was unequivocally the most action-packed period of the game. The Cougars took several shots on Golden Bears' net, but goalie Zach Sawchenko held his ground. Alberta's Wil Tomchuk was given a penalty within the opening minutes of the period and on the power-play, Cougars forward Colton Kroeker scored tying it up at 2-2. With 10 minutes left until the final whistle, Cougars forward Jamal Watson was given a tripping penalty, leaving the Golden Bears with the advantage. Watson was let out before the visiting team could capitalize on their power-play and eventually the Cougars took the lead with another goal from winger Brad Kennedy. Yet again on the power-play Alberta scored, this time thanks to Grayson Pawlenchuk, tying the game again.
The clock ran out, but the score was still 3-3. The teams were sent into a four on four overtime, but the Golden Bears were one man down for the first two minutes from their penalty at the end of the third period. Sanford's penalty ran out, and the Cougars' advantage was gone. And with that, the Golden Bears took their shot and won. Jason Fram's shot beat Cooper and won the game for the defending national champions. The Booster Juice Players of the game were Luke Philp from the Golden Bears and Brad Kennedy from the Cougars. Tomorrow, Oct. 20, the two teams will travel to Edmonton to rematch at the Golden Bear's home arena, the Clare Drake Arena.