GAME 1 POOL A: CIS championship: No. 1 Bears overcome slow start to double UQTR
Photo credit Mike Lavoie, Lakehead
THUNDER BAY, Ont. (CIS) – Jesse Gimblett scored twice as the top-seeded Alberta Golden Bears overcame an early two-goal deficit to double the No. 6 Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes 4-2, Thursday evening, in the second and final opening-day game of the CIS men's hockey championship, at Fort William Gardens.
University Cup website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mice
The Canada West champion Bears (1-0) take the Pool A lead and will now enjoy a rest until Saturday at 7 p.m. when they are set to battle the No. 4 and University Cup tournament host Lakehead Thunderwolves in their second and last preliminary round duel, live on Rogers Sportsnet and SSN Canada.
The Patriotes (0-1) face a must-win situation when they face Lakehead (0-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m., and would still need some help on Saturday should they defeat the Wolves tomorrow.
Trailing 2-1 at the midway point of the contest, Alberta scored twice in a span of 54 seconds in the second half of the middle frame and never looked back.
Gimblett of Newtonville, Ont., tied the affair at two all at the 12:34 mark with his second of the evening, and Brian Woolger, a left winger from Edmonton, sent the Bears ahead at 13:28.
Rookie defenceman Ian Barteaux of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., sealed the victory with an unassisted marker 29 seconds into the third. The result was never in doubt after that point as Alberta outshot UQTR 13-4 in the final period.
Gimblett had opened the scoring for Alberta late in the first during a power play, bringing the Bears back to within one after UQTR goals by Louis-Étienne Leblanc of Ham-Nord, Que., and first-year rearguard Félix Petit of Jonquière, Que.
"It took us about a period and a half to get our legs going tonight," said Gimblett, who was named Alberta game MVP. "We weren't really worried despite the fact we were behind. We know we're a good hockey team and we believed we could come back."
Freshman Travis Yonkman was solid between the pipes for the Bears stopping 34 pucks. The Saskatoon native kept his team in game in the second stanza when he was peppered with 17 shots.
His counterpart Jean-Christophe Blanchard, a sophomore from Trois-Rivières, Que., finished with 30 saves.
"We were a little nervous in the first period and felt better after that, as we were able to step it up a notch," said Alberta head coach Eric Thurston, who has led the Bears to a pair of University Cup triumphs in his first four seasons at the helm. "We changed our forecheck to a 1-2-2 as we were giving them a little too much room. That helped us turn pucks over in the neutral zone."
"Their power-play goal late in the first was definitely a turning point. Instead of being up by two going into the second period we were only leading 2-1. It's hard to win when there's such a big discrepancy in power plays," said UQTR head coach Jacques Laporte, whose team capitalized on one of two power-play opportunities while Alberta went 2-for-7.
The Golden Bears dominated early on but it was the Patriotes who had the first real scoring opportunity after eight minutes of play, when Pierre-Alexandre Joncas led a 4-on-1 rush. The play turned into three legitimate chances but the OUA bronze medallists failed to capitalize.
Minutes later, with teammate Samuël Richard in the penalty box, Olivier Richard skated down the left wing but saw Yonkman deflect his high shot with his blocker.
After going scoreless for more than 17 minutes, the two teams exploded for three goals in 2:33 before the intermission.
After Woolger was penalized for hooking deep in the offensive zone, UQTR needed only 11 seconds to make the Bears pay, Leblanc opening the scoring at 17:27 with a long wrist shot while that eluded a Yonkman, who never saw the puck on the play.
Petit made it 2-0 UQTR 68 seconds later when he one-timed a pass from behind the net from Alexandre Demers.
The Bears cut the margin to one with only 39 seconds on the clock. Following a scramble in front of Blanchard's net, the puck came to Gimblett, who turned around and scored from 20 feet out with a quick shot along the ice.
The first scoring chance in the middle frame came at the eight-minute mark. With Trois-Rivières on the power play, Yonkman robbed Blais with the glove as the forward tried to put a rebound past him.
The Bears took control from there.
They tied the match when Eric Hunter circled around the net and found Gimblett all alone in front. Gimblett slid the puck between the post and the skate of a stretched Blanchard.
Less than a minute later, Ian McDonald's slapshot on a 2-on-1 rush was blocked by Blanchard but the rebound ended up directly on Woolger's stick. The Fourth-year senior pushed it into an open cage for the lead.
The damage could have been much worse for the Patriotes but they managed to survive a one minute and seven seconds two-man disadvantage to retreat to the locker room trailing by only one.
Barteaux all but put the game out of reach 29 seconds after the break. The Patriotes seemed to have dodged another bullet when they cleared a puck that was rolling along their goal line, but the disc went straight to Barteaux who sent a quick shot inside the post on Blanchard's glove side.
GAME NOTES: Alberta had lost its first outing at the last two CIS championships... In 2008 in Moncton, the Bears overcame a 2-1 overtime loss to the host team to claim their record 13th University Cup... In 2009 in Thunder Bay, they couldn't recover from a 6-3 loss to UNB... The rivals entered the contest with Alberta leading the all-time University Cup series 5-2... The two teams had last met at the CIS championship in 2005 in Edmonton with the Bears crushing the Patriotes 11-0 in pool play...
Alberta 4, UQTR 2
1. UQTR Louis-Étienne Leblanc (1) (Pierre-Luc Lessard),
2. UQTR Félix Petit (1) (Alexandre Blais, Alexandre Demers), 18:35
3. ALB Jesse Gimblett (1) (Eric Hunter, Ian Barteaux), 19:21 PP
Samuël Richard (UQTR) boarding, 10:57;
Brian Woolger (ALB) tripping, 17:16;
Olivier Donovan (UQTR) tripping, 18:52.
4. ALB Jesse Gimblett (2) (Eric Hunter), 12:34
5. ALB Brian Woolger (Ian, McDonald, Kyle Fecho), 13:28
Jesse Gimblett (ALB) roughing, 6:38;
Pierre-Luc Lessard (UQTR) checking to the head, 13:56;
Pierre-Luc Lessard (UQTR) 10-minute misconduct, 13:56;
André Joanisse (UQTR) slashing, 14:49.
6. ALB Ian Barteaux (1) (unassisted), 0:29
Maxime Fréchette (UQTR) high sticking, 4:44;
David Chabot-Maltais (UQTR) hooking, 9:46;
André Joanisse (UQTR) hooking 16:28.
GOALS (by period)
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
ALB – Travis Yonkman (L, 0-1, 36 shots, 34 saves, 2 GA, 60:00)
UQTR – Jean-Christophe Blanchard (W, 1-0, 34 shots, 30 saves, 4 GA, 60:00)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
ALB: Jesse Gimblett
UQTR: Félix Petit
REFEREE: Dave Lewis
LINESMEN: Nigel Black, Andrew Hubbard
POOLS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS
3. Saint Mary's
Pool A standings (after 1 of 3 games)
GP W L GF GA PTS
1. Alberta 1 1 0 4 2 2
2. Lakehead 0 0 0 0 0 0
3. UQTR 1 0 1 2 4 0
Pool B standings (after 1 of 3 games)
1. Manitoba 1 1 0 5 4 2
2. SMU 0 0 0 0 0 0
3. McGill 1 0 1 4 5 0
Thursday, March 25
Pool B #1: Manitoba 5, McGill 4 (OT)
Pool A #1: Alberta 4, UQTR 2
Friday, March 26
14:00 Pool B #2: Saint Mary's vs. McGill (SSN Canada webcast)
19:30 Pool A #2: Lakehead vs. UQTR (SSN Canada webcast)
Saturday, March 27
14:00 Pool B #3: Saint Mary's vs. Manitoba (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
19:00 Pool A #3: Lakehead vs. Alberta (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
Sunday, March 28
19:00 University Cup Final (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)