VANCOUVER, BC – It was never really in much doubt. After a strong showing in a 3-1 victory on Friday, the Alberta Golden Bears completed a dominant season in emphatic fashion, demolishing the UBC Thunderbirds 7-0 in front of their home crowd at a rambunctious Clare Drake Area
The Golden Bears got the game off on the right foot, Gary Haden scoring the opening marker at 4:45 into the first period. Just four minutes later, Matt Fonteyne doubled the lead himself, before Tyler Preziuso rounded out a three-goal first period for the hosts.
Heading into the second, it was much the same as Alberta struck three times in four minutes. Nolan Volcan and two markers from Josh Prokop really got the celebrations started early as UBC could not find an answer to the Bears’ assault.
Ethan Sakowich’s goal in the third put the bow on top of a wonderful night for Alberta. Taz Burman had himself an excellent night, stopping 29 of 29 shots and generally flummoxing the T-Birds. On the other end, Rylan Toth did his best but couldn’t do enough, going for 25 saves on 32 shots as he conceded every goal in the game.
While Toth had stood on his head all season for UBC, putting in one of the best performances of any U SPORTS goaltender, he was unable to lead the T-Birds to victory from the backend on Saturday night. However, despite a one game blip in form, the Thunderbirds head to the U CUP still boasting one of, if not, the best goaltender(s) in U SPORTS.
Alberta claims their 56th Canada West banner with this result, while UBC heads home after a season to remember despite the loss. Both teams will now gear up and look forward to the U CUP, where they have clinched a spot as a top three seed, having won one of three three conference championships.
On the other side, the T-Birds also move onto the U CUP in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, but will be a lower seed, much like they were in 2020 when they were scheduled to take on the first-seeded UNB Reds, before COVID-19 cancelled the tournament midway through.
The U CUP gets underway on March 31, with two teams from Canada West, three from the AUS and three from the OUA, with all games streaming on CBC Sports’ digital platforms.