Golden Bears Hockey
It was a winning weekend for the Golden Bears hockey team, as they stormed past the Calgary Dinos 2-0 in their best of three semi-final playoff match up. While it was Saturday’s late game dramatics, where Stephane Legault scored the game winner with 1:14 left in the third period, that propelled the Bears to the series win, it was Friday’s game that will likely go down as an all-time Golden Bears great.
In what’s already being called an “instant playoff classic,” the provincial rivals combined for six second-period goals, nine total, new Canada West playoff record, and 11 total powerplays, all in front of a crowd of over 1,500 packed into Clare Drake Arena. An Alberta goalie change and overtime upped the dramatics, before rookie Luke Philp tipped in a shot to win the game less than two minutes into the extra frame.
With the wins, the Golden Bears advance to the Canada West Final this coming weekend, which for the second-straight year will see the Bears travel to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Bears have also solidified a spot in the U SPORTS Championship, March 16-19 in Fredericton, NB.
Game notes: The Dinos three second period goals, which came in a span of 0:43 seconds, set a new Canada West playoff record; The series sweep was the 15th-straight playoff series win for Alberta over Calgary, and their 30th-straight playoff win overall; The last Calgary win was in 1996, a 2-0 series sweep in Calgary.
Not to be outdone, the Pandas walked away from their weekend series against the Manitoba Bisons with a pair of wins, earning them a spot in the conference finals.
The Pandas didn’t miss a step on Friday after their first round playoff ‘bye,’ scoring early in the first and staying strong to earn the 3-2 victory. Saturday’s game saw some late dramatics, with a Bisons goal coming with 10 seconds left in the third, but it was too-little-too-late, and Alberta took another 3-2 win.
Alberta will be closely watching the outcome of the UBC vs Saskatchewan semifinal to determine who they will face in the conference final. Either the Pandas will travel to UBC, or host the Saskatchewan Huskies next weekend at Clare Drake Arena. Regardless of the CW Final’s outcome, the Pandas will play in the U SPORTS Championship.
Game notes: This is the second time in three seasons the Pandas have made the conference finals; they won their last trip in 2015.
The Pandas basketball squad proved to be resilient over the weekend, coming from behind on Saturday to seal a series sweep against the UBC Thunderbirds, earning the chance to compete in the Canada West Final Four.
Fans at the Saville Community Sports Centre Saturday watched the Pandas step up late and outscore their opponents 36-19 in the final 20 minutes, en route to a final of 60-52, and 2-0 best-of-three quarter-final sweep. Friday’s game was no smooth affair either, as the highly toted match up of fourth and fifth ranked squads saw a combined 51 turnovers and measly 18 assists.
Alberta will have to wait for the dust to settle on the other quarter-final matches before knowing who and where they will play next weekend in the Canada West Final Four.
Golden Bears Basketball
It took three games to decide the winner of the series between the Alberta Bears and Lethbridge Pronghorns, but the Bears emerged victorious with a decisive 107-84 on Saturday. The win moves them along to the Canada West Final Four.
After dropping game one, Lethbridge snuck in a one-point 112-111 OT win on Friday to push the Bears to a tie-breaking match. Unphased, the Bears dropped a whopping 70 points in the first half alone to run away with that game and the series.
The Bears advance to the Canada West Final Four this weekend, where they will visit the Calgary Dinos.
Golden Bears Volleyball
The Bears volleyball squad spoiled Calgary’s 50th anniversary game, handing the Dinos a four set loss too end their season.
The Golden Bears finish the season with a 20-4 record, ranking them one of the best teams in Canada West. The Golden Bears now prepare to host the U SPORTS national championship, which is scheduled for March in Edmonton.
Game notes: Fifth-years Ryan Nickifor and Brett Walsh hit impressive milestones in their final regular season game for the U of A. Nickifor reached 1000 kills (only the 4th Bear to do so) and Walsh made it to 4000 assists (the only recorded player in Canada West history to do so).
The Pandas got back to their winning ways over the weekend, recovering from the loss of their record breaking winning streak and perfect season, and defeating the Calgary Dinos to clinch first overall in Canada West.
The team finished their regular season with a 22-2 record. Thanks to this top seed, the Pandas will get a ‘bye’ though the quarter-final round of the conference playoffs next weekend, before hosting the Final Four, March 9-11 at Saville Community Sports Centre.