Golden Bears Hockey
The Golden Bears are Canada West champions for the fourth time in five years, after going the distance against the U of S Huskies this past weekend.
It was the 19th time the Bears and Huskies had met in a Canada West Men’s Hockey Final when the puck dropped for game one on Friday night. Alberta squeezed out a hard fought 4-3 win, claiming their first victory in Saskatoon this season. Game two was all Huskies however, as the reigning conference champs proved they wouldn’t roll over and die, shutting out the Bears 2-0, forcing a third, winner-take-all game. The next night’s match up was a back and forth affair until a three minute, three goal scoring spree put Alberta ahead 5-3 in the third period. A late empty netter gave the Bears six goals on the night, sealing the win in both the game and the series.
The Bears will have some time to celebrate before heading to Fredericton, NB for the U SPORTS Championship. There, they will attempt to win their first national championship since winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
Game notes: This is the Golden Bears 53rd conference title and their first since 2015. It was the Huskies who defeated Alberta last year in the conference finals.
Despite taking an early lead in their Canada West Finals Series, the Pandas were unable to seal the deal against the UBC Thunderbirds, losing out on the championship title in three games.
All three games were close, low scoring affairs. Alberta goaltender Lindsey Post earned her second career playoff shutout in a 2-0 game one victory, UBC stormed back to take game two 3-1, and game three saw the T-Birds only need a single goal to take the title. The win is the T-Birds’ second Canada West title in as many years.
Despite the disappointing finish, the Pandas will get right back to work in preparation for their trip to the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championship. The series begins Thursday, March 16 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
It was a tough end of the season for the Pandas basketball squad — falling first in their semi-final against the defending champion U of S Huskies, and then dropping the bronze medal game to the U of W Wesman.
Friday’s rematch of the 2016 semi-final started out strong for the Hoop Pandas as they took an early lead. But the Huskies proved resilient and pushed back to earn the 72-62 win. Saturday’s game in Winnipeg followed a similar trend, with the Bears leading by as much as 16 points well into the third quarter. A massive 20-3 run by the Wesman seemed to break the spirit of the Bears however, as Winnipeg bounced back on the score sheet en-route to an impressive 89-78 come-from-behind win.
The Pandas finished fourth overall in Canada West.
Golden Bears Basketball
The Golden Bears basketball team is celebrating their 12th Canada West Championship, which they earned thanks to a semi-final victory against the U of S Huskies, and finals win versus the underdog Manitoba Bisons.
In the Canada West Final Four semi-final on Friday afternoon, the Bears executed both offensively and defensively to claim an 83-70 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies. Saturday’s final wasn’t a walk in the park however, with Cinderella story Manitoba not giving Alberta much room to breathe for much of the match. That is until the fourth quarter, when the Bears stepped on the gas and pulled away for a 92-73 final score.
The Golden Bears now set their sights on the U SPORTS Men’s Final 8, March 9-12 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Alberta last won the National Championship in 2002.
Game notes: This is the Bears third conference title in six years, following wins in 2014 and 2012.
Golden Bears Volleyball
The Bears volleyball team brought their brooms to the Saville Centre over the weekend, sweeping the MRU Cougars and advancing themselves to the Canada West Final Four.
Game one was the first-ever playoff match up between these two teams, and took a determined five sets to decide a winner. With a win in their pocket, the boys looked to continue their momentum in Friday’s rematch, doing just that by taking down the Cougars 3-0.
The Golden Bears now advance to the conference Final Four, hosted by the top ranked Manitoba Bisons, next weekend. With the Bears move into the semifinal, they clinch a spot in the U SPORTS FOG Men’s Volleyball Championship, hosted by the University of Alberta, March 17-19 at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Game notes: This is the 29th-consecutive season the Golden Bears will partake in the Canada West semifinal. The last time the Bears missed the semifinal or Final Four was in 1988; The quarter-final sealing win was the 700th career win for Golden Bears head coach Terry Danyluk. He becomes the third coach in U of A history to reach 700 career wins, putting himself in good company with Laurie Eisler (PVB), and Clare Drake (GBH, GBF).
The Pandas enjoyed a bye this weekend though the quarter-final round of the conference playoffs. They will host the Final Four, March 9-11 at Saville Community Sports Centre.
The Bears and Pandas curling teams defended their Western University Curling Championship titles, Sunday afternoon at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
If winning the Western Curling titles wasn’t enough, both teams have qualified for the CCA/U SPORTS Championship, hosted by Lakehead University, March 19-22 in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The Alberta Pandas are the two-time defending U SPORTS National Champions.