Golden Bears Hockey
The Canada West battle of Alberta raged this weekend, ending with the Bears suffering their first home shutout loss in 53 years to the University of Calgary Dinos. To the dismay of the crowd at Clare Drake Arena, Saturday night’s game belonged to opposing goaltender Steven Stanford, who stopped all 45 shots the Bears directed at him to secure the Dinos’ 3-0 victory. The home-and-home was split however, with the Bears snagging a close 2-1 win on Friday in Calgary. Bears goalie Brendan Burke stopped a nail-biting Calgary penalty shot in the dying seconds to hold for the W. The 14-7-1 Golden Bears will play another home-and-home this weekend, this time against the 15-6-1 Mount Royal Cougars.
Game notes: Alberta’s last home ice shutout came on February 14th, 1964 with a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the UBC Thunderbirds.
The Pandas roared past the Dinos in their weekend match-up, dropping them in back-to-back games 4-0 and 7-1. Saturday night’s blowout in Calgary was aided by an Alex Poznikoff five-point effort (including a hat trick), and 30 minutes of penalties taken by Calgary. Alberta was equally dominant on Friday at Clare Drake, allowing the Dinos to only register eight shots against Alberta net-minder Lindsey Post, giving her her fourth shutout of the season. The Pandas have now won five straight, and 12 of their past 13 to add to their now 12-4-3-3 record. Next weekend, the Pandas will face-off against the Mount Royal University Cougars in a home-and-home series.
The hoop Pandas held on for a close 56-53 decision over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades this Saturday to sweep the weekend series, and earn their third-straight victory. Friday night’s match-up saw former Victoria Vike Shay Crisp knock back five threes, including a half-court buzzer beater, to help solidify the 63-51 Pandas final score. Keen on retribution, the Cascades made a comeback effort on Saturday, but were held short thanks to the Panda’s clutch performance from the free throw line late in the game. The 14-2 Pandas will have a bye week before heading playing the Saskatchewan Huskies in the first week of February.
A close loss to the UFV Cascades on Friday was quickly forgotten Saturday night with a 95-78 Bears victory. The first game of the series gave viewers at the Saville Community Sports Centre a nail-biting finish, with the Bears and Cascades swapping leads until the very end, before concluding as a 73-71 Bears loss. Saturday’s game featured fourth-year forward Mamadou Gueye scoring a team-high 18 points, helping Alberta walk away with the three game losing streak-snapping win. The Bears, now 12-4, take a week off before heading to Saskatoon to play the Huskies in the first week of February.
The Pandas finished third in the inaugural Rugby Sevens tournament series, which was hosted this weekend in the Dome at Foote Field. The Pandas went 3-2, before beating the Lethbridge Pronghorns 24-17 to seal third place and earn six points in the tournament (the cumulative points from the three legs of the tournament will decide the winner). The three-part Canada West Rugby Sevens series will shift to Vancouver for the February 4-5 weekend, before the Victoria Vikes host the final tournament on February 18-19.
Track and Field
The Golden Bears finished first in the 2017 GBO track and field event, held at the University Pavilion. The Bears bested last year’s second place with 65 points. The win was made possible with victories in the 300m race (Austin Cole – 1st) and pole vault (Spencer Allen – 2nd), as well as wins in the 4x200m relay. Alberta also earned points with top three finishes in the 60m dash (Thompson Weegar – 3rd) and in the 1,500m (Kieran McDonald – 2nd) event.
The Pandas, winners of the Canada West and GBO crowns last year, ended up in fourth with 43 points. Their one victory came in the 300m (Ashley Whiteman – 1st). The Pandas also scored top three results in the triple jump (Erika Pearson -2nd) and 1,500m (Nicole Soderberg – 2nd and Morgan Lawley – 3rd).
Notes: Rookie Austin Cole’s 34.14 race time in the 300m is one of the top Golden Bear times in the event in recent history.
The Bears earned back-to-back wins against the U of S Huskies, taking Saturday’s match in straight sets, 3-0. The perfect night came after a thrilling 3-2, five set win on Friday, which saw the final match in Saskatoon come down to a critical block by Brett Walsh and Ryan Nickifor. The No. 4 ranked Bears improve to 12-2 on the season with the wins, will host the Trinity Western Spartans next weekend.
The No. 1 ranked Volley Pandas swept their weekend series against the Huskies in Saskatoon (3-0, 3-0), keeping their perfect season alive (they are now 14-0). Meg Casault led the Pandas on Saturday with 18 kills — she only needs 77 more over her final six matches to tie the Canada West record, which was set in 2006 by Pandas alumni Tawana McLeod. Casault will get the chance to move closer to the record when the Pandas return home to host the Trinity Western Spartans next weekend.