FINAL: CIS championship: Huskies claim first University Cup with OT win
Photo credit Mike Lavoie
THUNDER BAY, Ont. (CIS) – Rookie forward Brad Smith scored nine minutes and 13 seconds into overtime to lift the Saint Mary’s Huskies to a 3-2 win over the Alberta Golden Bears and the first University Cup title in team history, Sunday evening, at Fort William Gardens.
University Cup website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mice
The Huskies, who came into the CIS men’s hockey championship as the third seed after capturing the AUS banner for the second straight year, end the season with an 11-1 playoff record and 15 victories in their final 16 games. They advanced to the national final after taking first place in Pool B thanks to a 4-2 defeat of No. 2 McGill on Friday and a 5-0 shutout of No. 5 Manitoba on Saturday.
Saint Mary’s was playing for CIS gold for the fifth time in history. The Huskies skated in four consecutive University Cup finals from 1970 to 1973 but lost each time to the Toronto Varsity Blues.
“This is by far the biggest goal of my career,” said Smith, who flipped a rebound over freshman goaltender Travis Yonkman, just inside the right post. “To be honest, it’s probably the biggest goal I’ll ever score.”
The native of Summerside, P.E.I., had one goal in 11 post-season contests going into Sunday after scoring six times during the 28-game regular schedule.
“I never would have dreamed in my life that I would win anything as big as this, so it’s pretty awesome,” said Trevor Stienburg, in his 13th season at the helm of the Huskies. “We worked the guys very hard, turned up the heat on them in the playoffs, skated them hard, had long practices. We did everything and they responded.”
Competing in a CIS-best 18th title game, the Canada West champion and tournament favourite Golden Bears were hoping to add to their record tally of 13 University Cup triumphs. Alberta had downed No. 6 UQTR 4-2 on Thursday and No. 4 Lakehead 5-3 on Saturday to finish first in Pool A.
“In the big picture, it was a good game. But it’s gonna be a tough one to get over,” said fifth-year head coach Eric Thurston, who guided the Bears to a pair of national titles in his first four seasons behind the bench. “We came down just before the winning goal and (Mark) Ashton hit the post. Then we got stuck in our own end and couldn’t get out of it.”
“You have to give Saint Mary’s credit. They battled all year, they’re a good team, and Trevor has done a great job with them. He should be proud of his program.”
Neil Conway, also a first-year goaltender, was phenomenal in net and was named player of the for game for the Huskies, who were outshot 40-26 on the night, including 12-5 in the opening period, 11-8 in the second frame, 11-9 in the third and 6-4 in the extra session.
The native of Concord, Ohio, who was also named to the all-tournament team, became the eighth rookie netminder in the last 11 years to lead his squad to the University Cup.
“In the intermission before the overtime, all the talk was about team work, and this was nothing more than a team effort,” said Conway. “Everyone kept saying that this is our game, our championship, so let’s take it. And we played awesome.”
Playing in his final university game, Alberta team captain Tyler Metcalfe of Headingley, Man., opened the scoring 14:21 into the contest.
Forward Cam Fergus of Brantford, Ont., tied the affair at 1-1 with his third goal of the championship at 10:37 of the middle stanza, and defenceman Andrew Hotham of Barrie, Ont., sent the Huskies ahead 3:46 into the third with his second of the weekend.
Forward Derek Ryan of Spokane, Wash., scored with 4:43 left in regulation to extend the Bears season and force extra time.
Hotham, a first-team all-Canadian rearguard, received the Major W.J. (Danny) McLeod award as championship MVP after he finished in a tie with teammate Cody Thornton for the tournament scoring lead with five points.
Hotham had two goals and three assists during the competition, while Thornton, a third-year forward from Woodstock, Ont., tallied three markers and two helpers and was also selected amongst the tournament all-stars.
Rounding out the all-tournament team were Fergus (3-0-3), Alberta forward Chad Klassen of Saskatoon (2-1-3) and Bears rookie blueliner Ian Barteaux of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. (1-3-4). Klassen was also named Alberta player of the game.
“A month ago I would have done anything to be here and never thought we would make it (because of UNB),” said Hotham. “It feels amazing and I can’t even put my thoughts into words.”
The two goalies came up big in the first period with numerous key saves from up close, despite Yonkman facing only five shots in the frame.
Thornton had the best chance for Saint Mary’s during a power play in the 11th minute but his shot from the right circle hit the post to the right of Yonkman.
Metcalfe opened the scoring three minutes later when he completed a play initiated by defenceman Derek Price and Ian McDonald. Left all alone in front of the net, he put his own rebound past a sprawling Conway.
Klassen came inches away from doubling the Bears lead during a man advantage five minutes into the second stanza but hit the crossbar from the left circle.
The Huskies tied the affair at 1-1 midway through the period. Team captain Marc Rancourt took the puck into the zone and passed it to his left to Thornton, whose slapshot was deflected by Fergus.
With four minutes left before the second intermission, Thornton hit his second post of the night, this time to the left of Yonkman.
Alberta held a 23-13 advantage in shots after 40 minutes.
Hotham sent Saint Mary’s ahead early in the final period with a wrister from the point that Yonkman never saw, as he was screened by Huskies forward Scott Brophy.
Yonkman kept Alberta in the match with nine minutes on the clock stopping Justin Munden on a breakaway, and again two minutes later when he stoned Mike Danton on a partial breakaway.
Danton was hooked on the play and, midway through the ensuing Saint Mary’s man advantage, Thornton hit the cross bar – his third post of the contest.
Ryan sent the game to extra time when he deflected a Barteaux shot at the end of a pretty sequence initiated by Klassen.
Rearguard Mark Ashton sent a blast off the post from the left circle six minutes into the extra period.
Moments later, Rancourt fired towards the Alberta net from the left corner. The puck ended up on Smith’s stick, and the Huskies newcomer made University Cup history.
GAME NOTES: UNB beat Moncton 3-2 in 2007 in Moncton in the last University Cup final to be decided in overtime... Saint Mary’s lost in the national final to Toronto by 3-2 in 1970, 5-4 in 1971, 5-0 in 1972 and 3-2 in 1973... Alberta’s last appearance in the University Cup title match was in 2008 in Moncton when the Bears edged UNB 3-2 to win their 13th title... Alberta was 3-1 against Saint Mary’s at the University Cup going into the contest including a 5-3 win in the 1969 consolation final, a 4-3 loss in the 1972 semifinals and a two-game sweep of a best-of-three semifinal in 1977, 5-4 and 7-1... Lakehead University was hosting the tournament for the second straight year... The championship moves to the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton in 2011 and 2012...
Saint Mary’s 3, Alberta 2 (OT)
1. ALB Tyler Metcalfe (1) (Derek Price, Ian McDonald), 14:21
Ian Barteaux (ALB) tripping, 6:44;
Greg Gardner (ALB) tripping, 10:35;
Jesse Gimblett (ALB) roughing, 18:54;
Shawn O’Donnell (SMU – served by Tyler Hawes) checking from behind, 18:54;
Shawn O’Donnell (SMU) game misconduct, 18:54.
2. SMU Cam Fergus (3) (Cody Thornton, Marc Rancourt), 10:37
Tyler Cuthbert (SMU) cross checking, 3:53;
Ian Barteaux (ALB) interference, 16:16.
3. SMU Andrew Hotham (2) (Kyle Doucet), 3:46
4. ALB Derek Ryan (1) (Ian Barteaux, Chad Klassen), 15:17
Neil Conway (SMU – served by Brad Smith) holding,
David MacDonald (SMU) hooking, 10:07;
Mark Ashton (ALB) tripping, 12:36.
5. SMU Brad Smith (1) (Marc Rancourt, Ryan Rorabeck), 9:13
GOALS (by period)
SMU: 0-1-1-1:3 (OT)
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
ALB: 12-11-11-6: 40
SMU – Neil Conway (W, 3-0, 40 shots, 38 saves, 2 GA, 69:13)
ALB – Travis Yonkman (L, 2-1, 26 shots, 23 saves, 3 GA, 69:13)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
SMU: Neil Conway
ALB: Chad Klassen
REFEREE: Dave Lewis
LINESMEN: Matt Traub, Jesse Wilmot
University Cup MVP (Major W.J. ‘Danny’ McLeod award): Andrew Hotham, Saint Mary’s
Goaltender: Neil Conway, Saint Mary’s
Defenceman: Andrew Hotham, Saint Mary’s
Defenceman: Ian Barteaux, Alberta
Forward: Cody Thornton, Saint Mary’s
Forward: Cam Fergus, Saint Mary’s
Forward: Chad Klassen, Alberta
POOLS & RESULTS
3. Saint Mary’s
Pool A standings (FINAL)
GP W L GF GA PTS
1. Alberta 2 2 0 9 5 4
2. Lakehead 2 1 1 10 7 2
3. UQTR 2 0 2 4 11 0
Pool B standings (FINAL)
1. SMU 2 2 0 9 2 4
2. Manitoba 2 1 1 5 9 2
3. McGill 2 0 2 6 9 0
Thursday, March 25
Pool B #1: Manitoba 5, McGill 4 (OT)
Pool A #1: Alberta 4, UQTR 2
Friday, March 26
Pool B #2: Saint Mary’s 4, McGill 2
Pool A #2: Lakehead 7, UQTR 2
Saturday, March 27
Pool B #3: Saint Mary’s 5, Manitoba 0
Pool A #3: Alberta 5, Lakehead 3
Sunday, March 28
University Cup Final: Saint Mary’s 3, Alberta 2 (OT)