One of the confounding aspects of being a Golden Bears’ fan during the 2015-16 season was their capacity to lose despite being the dominant team on the shot clock. Last Friday was no different as the Bears lost to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds despite a 37-24 edge in shots. Rookie goaltender Brendan Burke allowed 4 goals on 23 shots, including one short handed, and an empty net goal ended Alberta’s night with a 5-2 final score. For UBC third year centre Adam Rossignol had a goal and two assists.
The Saturday rematch looked early to yield a similar result. Fellow rookie goalie Kenny Cameron started in place of Burke and allowed 3 goals on 6 shots and was yanked after only playing 10:27. Fortunately in relief Burke stood tall and only allowed one goal the rest of the way. Another rookie, Tyson Baillie, (who had 95 points for the Kelowna Rockets last season) exploded for a 4 point night (2 goals and 2 assists) to carry the Golden Bears to a 9-4 victory. Veteran Jamie Crooks added 2 goals and an assist while Chase Clayton had two goals for UBC including another short handed (his second short-handed goal in as many nights). Crooks now has 5 goals and 7 points in 4 games. The shots favored the Bears again with a 39-24 spread.
After the weekend series versus UBC the Golden Bears have dropped from fourth to seventh in the CIS/U-Sports National Rankings. UBC is not ranked in the top 10.
- Veteran goaltender (and former starter) Luke Siemens has not seen any action so far in the regular season. Kenny Cameron and Brendan Burke have played all the minutes. You have to wonder if Siemens will see the net this weekend against a very strong Mount Royal team after shaky performances by the Bears’ rookie net-minders in Vancouver.
- Currently Alberta is averaging 4 goals a game while giving up almost as many with 3.72 against. The young Bears team will need to tighten up defensively as the season progresses. Allowing short handed goals on both Friday and Saturday night has to be a concern for coach Serge Lajoie.
- The CIS is no more. The governing body for university sport in Canada has re-branded as U-Sports in an attempt to attract more sponsors. Hopefully this next iteration will have success in getting the quality of university hockey and other sports recognized by sports fans across Canada.
Alberta plays a home-&-home series against the Mount Royal Cougars this weekend. Mount Royal is ranked ahead of the Bears in the U-Sports top 10 at #4. The Friday night battle is at 7pm at the Clare Drake Arena at the University of Alberta. The Saturday night game starts at 6pm in Calgary.
You can get your tickets for the Friday night game here.