Bears score twice in third to eliminate Cougars

Bears score twice in third to eliminate Cougars

EDMONTON – Jordan Hickmott scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period, to lift the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team to a thrilling 5-3 win in Game 2 of the Canada West Semifinal, eliminating the Mount Royal Cougars.

Brett Ferguson, Kruise Reddick, and Jamie Crooks also scored for the Bears on Saturday night. David Stephens, Matthew Brown and Tyler Fiddler were the goal scorers for Mount Royal.

In a contrast to the previous night's game, Game 2 got off to a much slower start, with Alberta holding a slight 3-2 shot advantage after ten minutes. Similar to last night, however, another five-on-three man-advantage would spark MRU on the road. After the first penalty expired, a blocked shot in front of the Alberta crease leaked out to Stephens, and he was able to rip one past a fooled Siemens.

Stephane Legault had the best scoring opportunity for the Bears in the first period, but he was turned aside on a partial breakaway by Colin Cooper.

In a complete turnaround, the second period was absolutely wild, filled with goals, massive hits, and rough play. MRU would add to their lead midway through the frame, as Brown was able to rip a shot through Siemens on another delayed Bears penalty. Cooper would come up big once again in the second period, robbing Reddick, Ferguson and Hickmott in successive shifts. However, the Bears relentless attack would finally payoff, as Crooks was able to beat a sprawled out Cooper, knocking in a loose puck in the crease.

It took a little over a minute for MRU to respond, and restore their two goal lead. On yet another powerplay opportunity, Fiddler's quick shot beat Siemens, making it 3-1. The chaos wasn't over yet, with Ferguson crashing the Cougars net two minutes later, and the usual melee ensuing.

The Bears once again cut the lead down to one a little over a minute later, as Reddick's snap-shot from the slot blew past Cooper, making it 3-2. Alberta would completely erase the Cougars lead before the period was up, as Hickmott's first of the night capped a wild second period.

Looking to regain the lead, Fiddler found himself on an early third-period breakaway, but Siemens was up to the test.

In what would turn out to be the biggest mistake of the Cougars season, a turnover behind their night midway through the third led to the Hickmott game-winner. Koper was able to scoop up the loose puck, feed Hickmott in the slot, and the fifth-year veteran made no mistake. Ferguson would add an empty-net goal late, cementing the playoff sweep.

With the win, not only do the Bears earn a spot in the Canada West Final, but also qualify for the 2016 University Cup, March 17-20 in Halifax, NS.

As for the final, the Bears will head to Saskatoon for the 18th all-time Canada West Final meeting with the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Bears currently hold the 11-6 advantage in series wins. The matchup will also mark the first road series for the Bears since the 1999/2000 Canada West season.