Tyler Yarenchuk - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - The Alberta Golden Bears closed out their regular season by picking up their 13th-straight win, thanks to a thrilling 5-4 OT win over Calgary on Saturday night.
Sawyer Lange scored twice, including the game-winner in double overtime, as the Bears finished conference play with a 24-3-1 record. Calgary drops to 18-8-2, and will host Lethbridge next weekend in the quarter-final.
This was the 21st consecutive game in which the Golden Bears got at least a point, going 20-0-1 in that stretch. Despite that hot streak, they weren't able to catch the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for the top spot in the conference.
The season series to this point had been dominated by Alberta with the Bears winning all three matchups by a combined score of 18-3, including a 4-1 win last night in Calgary. Tonight was a much different story as these two teams went back and forth for 60 minutes and even that didn't give us a winner. It took until the one minute mark of three-on-three overtime for the home team to secure the victory, with Lange playing hero.
Simply put: these two teams produced one of the most entertaining games of the Canada West season.
The Golden Bears actually got on the board first thanks to a gorgeous shot from Stephane Legault, who released a wrister from below the faceoff dots and beat Jordan Papirny. Legault, along with his fellow graduating teammates Riley Kieser, Tanner Clarkson, and Kenny Cameron were presented with jerseys in a pregame ceremony to honour their time with the program.
The Dinos would even things up before the end of the period, taking advantage of an undisciplined Golden Bears team that gave them a full two-minute 5-on-3 advantage. Their powerplay was red-hot, scoring one more time in the second period and coming really close to striking again on multiple occasions.
Luke Philp added just one assist in this contest, but he finished the season with 21 goals and 24 assists in just 24 games, which was enough to give him his second consecutive Canada West scoring title, something that hasn't been done in over a decade.
The Dinos would begin the third period with a lead, but it would quickly evaporate as the Golden Bears would strike with their second powerplay goal of the night. The Bears would largely control the play for the remainder of the third period, but Jordan Papirny stopped the next eight shots he faced, many of them from point-blank range, to force an extra frame.
Overtime started with four-on-four action and the Dinos almost won the games multiple times as their leading scorer Riley Sheen just missed on a pair of chances. Sheen was no doubt the Dinos best offensive player as he added a pair of goals in this contest. The Bears would get a few look as well, but neither team found the back of the net which meant this game needed another overtime frame.
It took just one minute of three-on-three play for Sawyer Lange to end things, firing a wrister over the shoulder of Papirny, sending a packed Clare Drake Arena into a frenzy.