The Alberta Golden Bears made their presence known in their first game at the CIS University Cup Friday night by dominating the host StFX X-Men 5-1. Alberta’s offensive flair was overpowering; the X-Men found themselves hemmed in the defensive zone for the majority of the game. The shots were 34-14 in favour of Alberta.
Courtesy of a sea of blue and white from hometown Xaverian supporters, the X-Men got off to a lively start. Senior forward Michael Kirkpatrick capitalized off of a fallen defender, and found Blake Gal driving the net to open the scoring at 7:54 in the first period.
But with two minutes remaining in the first period, Alberta forward Jordan Hickmott displayed a dazzling individual effort and beat X-Men goalie Drew Owsley below the blocker for a shorthanded goal.
Hickmott’s goal served as a momentum shift for Alberta, as they went on to dominate the remainder of the game.
At 1:18 into the second period, Alberta forward Brennan Yadlowski redirected a shot from Jamie Crooks to give Alberta the lead.
The Golden Bears were relentless on the attack, and continued to smother the X-Men defence. After a spirited forecheck, Alberta’s Travis Toomey found the back of the net at 15:27 in the second period to add to the lead. Stephane Legault and Jesse Craige added assists on the play.
Tension began to brew between the two clubs during the final seconds of the second period. After a hard net drive by Alberta’s Jevko Koper, graduating X-Men and team captain Robert Slaney crosschecked Koper ensuing a scrum in front of the StFX net. Alberta’s Johnny Lazo mixed it up with X-Men defencemen Trey Lewis resulting in both players being sent to the penalty box.
At the opening of the third period, Alberta’s Dylan Bredo circled the offensive zone to find team captain Kruise Reddick alone in front to blast home a one-timer to make it 4-1.
The X-Men were tenacious on the puck throughout the dying minutes of the game, but at 12:08 CIS first-team all-star T.J Foster deflated the X-Men after beating Drew Owsley blocker side on a two-on-one.
The 8th seed X-Men are eliminated from the CIS University Cup after falling to the 1st seed Alberta Golden Bears 5-1.