LETHBRIDGE, Alta. (from Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas) — Scoring three times in each period, the U Sports fourth-ranked Alberta Golden Bears completed the weekend sweep of the Lethbridge Pronghorns with their second consecutive convincing win, beating the Pronghorns 9-2.
A night a go, the Bears parlayed a five-goal second period into an 8-1 win to open the weekend set.
With the win, Alberta improves to 20-3-1, and with the Saskatchewan Huskies losing both games this weekend to the UBC Thunderbirds, the Bears have a four-point lead in the race for top spot in Canada West.
The loss is the Pronghorns sixth in a row, dropping their record to 8-13-3 and enter the final two weekends of conference action tied for the final playoff spot with the Calgary Dinos. The Pronghorns and Dinos will both face the Regina Cougars and Manitoba Bisons to wrap up the regular season.
Continuing sharing duties in the crease, freshman Zach Sawchenko made 29 saves in the win for the Bears, while fellow freshman Ty Edmonds made his first start in 14 games and made 33 saves.
Steven Owre and Stephane Legault led the way for the Golden Bears with two goals each and Lange Sawyer, Ryan Rehill, Jason Fram, Luke Philp and Trevor Cox each picked up singles. Dalton Sward and Torrin White replied for the Pronghorns.
The Bears finished the night a perfect three-for-three with the man-advantage and also scored a shorthanded marker. Both of Lethbridge’s goals came while on the power-play, and they ended two-for-three.
Building on a two-goal performance from the previous night, Steven Owre opened the scoring just shy of the four-minute mark, beating Edmonds five-hole on a breakaway.
Continuing their strong opening period, the Bears doubled the lead 11 minutes into the period with Trevor Cox picking up his second goal in as many games, jumping on a juicy rebound and swatting a puck over Edmonds’ leg.
Stephane Legault pushed the Alberta lead to three with a power-play marker, grabbing another rebound off an Edmonds save.
Shots through the opening twenty minutes heavily favoured the Golden Bears, 20 to 7.
Less than a minute into the second period the Bears pushed the lead to four as Owre scored his second of the night. Off to the side of the net, a loose puck bounced to Owre with a wide-open cage for him to pot his 14th of the season.
The Pronghorns finally got on the board while on the power-play to cut the lead back to three. Dalton Sward was able to clean up Dallas Valentine’s point shot for his fifth the season.
Any momentum the Pronghorns had built on the Sward’s goal was dashed with Legault’s second of the night. While shorthanded, Legault took a feed from Riley Kieser and a two-on-one and went roof over Edmonds glove.
Four minutes later, Lethbridge was able to cut the game back to a three-goal deficit again with another goal with the man-advantage. Torrin White was able to poke a loose puck just over the goal line under Sawchenko.
However, the Bears responded right back again with a slick deflection from Luke Philp. Streaking to the net, Philp deflected Trevor Cox’s cross-ice pass through his own legs and over Edmonds’ shoulder to put the Bears back up four, 6-2.
Only 17-seconds into the third, Bears defenceman Jason Fram snapped home the Bears seventh goal of the game from the high slot.
Sawyer Lange picked up the Bears eighth goal of the night, surprising Edmonds from a sharp angle and Ryan Rehill picked up his second of the season to round out the scoring.
The Pronghorns enter the final two weeks in desperate need to snap a losing streak if they are going to qualify for the post-season. They head out on the road next weekend, travelling to Winnipeg to face the Manitoba Bisons. The Bears will host the Saskatchewan Huskies in a battle of the top two teams in Canada West and will be looking to clinch top spot.