The Golden Bears hockey team were coming off a convincing 5-0 win on Friday night and were looking to continue their dominance for the second night in a row on Saturday December 4. They played against the newly incorporated team in the West Canada conference, the MacEwan Griffins.
The Bears started the game with impetus as they had multiple scoring chances in the first minutes of the period. They kept pushing until they were finally rewarded with a goal by forward Eric Florchuk, assisted by Dylan Plouffe and Josh Prokop in the first four minutes of the game.
The Griffins attempted to respond immediately and take advantage of two penalties by the Golden Bears’ Ethan Sakowich for tripping and Grayson Pawlenchuk for slashing. However, the Griffins were unable to penetrate the Bears’ defence, who killed the penalties by blocking shots and easy stops made by goaltender Nick Schneider, thus ending the first period with the Golden Bears leading 1-0.
The second period started with MacEwan pressuring on the Bears’ end but, once again, unable to generate high scoring chances. The heat between the two teams started to increase as the game became more physical and forced the referees to call penalties on both sides to calm things down.
During a Griffins power play, the Golden Bears managed to score their second goal of the night which was fired home by Tyler Preziuso and assisted by Joel Lakusta and Sakowich. The efforts made by the referees to try to pacify things between the teams were in vain as the game continued to be hard hitting on both sides. Amid the chaos, provoked by the physicality of the game, the Bears took advantage and scored two more goals by Ryan Hughes and Jared Freadrich which extended their lead to 4-0 before the end of the second period.
The game intermission did not appear to have cooled things down between the teams, as they got straight to the third period being rough and aggressive. A 10-minute misconduct penalty was called on Golden Bears’ Clayton Kirichenko with less than three minutes left in the third period. The Griffins, however, were incapable of getting the ball rolling. The period continued with a carousel of penalties on both sides but with both teams unable to convert on the power plays.
The Bears once more erupted big in the game guided by the rookie Preziuso who scored two more goals for a hat-trick, the first in his career with the Golden Bears. The game finally came to an end with a win by the Bears of 6-0 over the Griffins. Although the two games between the teams were comfortable wins by the Golden Bears, it gave the feeling to all at Clark Drake Arena that a new rivalry has emerged and is here to stay.
The Golden Bears sit second in the West Conference with a 9-2-1 record just behind the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The first conference game for the Bears in 2022 will be against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who sit third in the West Conference, in Saskatoon.