Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON – The Alberta Golden Bears continued their dominance over the Calgary Dinos in postseason play, as they earned a semifinal series sweep thanks to a 6-3 win on Saturday night.
The win sends the Golden Bears to the Canada West Final for the seventh-straight season, as they seek a third-straight conference title, and sixth over the last seven years. With the semifinal sweep, the Bears also advance to the U SPORTS Championship for the seventh straight year.
Alberta now has 16-straight playoff series wins over Calgary, each of which coming via a sweep.
Grayson Pawlenchuk scored a pair, while Brandon Magee, Jayden Hart, Riley Kieser, and Stephane Legault also scored for Alberta. Zach Sawchenko made 18 stops for his third career playoff win.
Dane Gibson, Luke Harrison and Tim Vanstone scored for Calgary, who struggled all series to generate an attack. Matthew Greenfield allowed four goals on 32 shots, with the Bears also adding two empty net goals.
Picking up where they left off from their 3-1 win in Game 1, the Golden Bears jumped all over the Dinos in the first period. The ice was seriously tilted in favour of the home team, as they peppered Dino starter Matthew Greenfield with shots and scoring chances.
The Dinos had no answer for the Bears forecheck, struggling all period on defensive zone exits. That trouble ended up costing them the first goal, as a turnover in the slot led to a partial breakaway for Pawlenchuk, who beat Greenfield for his first career playoff goal.
Magee doubled the Alberta lead in the final 20 seconds of the first, redirecting a Ryan Rehill point shot through Greenfield's five-hole.
Calgary mustered just four shots in the first, all of them coming in the first seven minutes.
Hart would add to the Bears lead early in the second, taking advantage of Dane Gibson tripping over the red-line, before beating Greenfield on a breakaway.
The Dinos would finally breathe life into their game on a powerplay in the second period, as Gibson would earn a measure of revenge with his first playoff goal. His point shot beat a screened Sawchenko, who never saw Gibson's shot.
Kieser restored the Bears three-goal lead late in the second, tapping in the loose puck in the Calgary crease, that had snuck through Greenfield.
The third period got wild as the Dinos would get goals from Harrison and Vanstone with the goalie pulled, but Alberta would knock in a pair of empty netters to keep their lead intact.
The next for Alberta is a trip to Saskatoon to take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who swept away the Mount Royal Cougars earlier tonight, in what will be a rematch of last year's Canada West Men's Hockey Final.