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Untitled Document

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Ben Thomson's goal 5:27 into overtime lifted the University of Alberta Golden Bears to a come-from behind 4-3 victory over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the championship game of the 43rd annual University Cup tournament before a crowd of 10,331 at Rexall Place on Monday, March 28th.

The victory gave the Golden Bears their CIS record 11th national championship and first since 1999-2000. Alberta entered the tournament as the number one seed and went undefeated with a perfect 3-0 record, outscoring their opponents 20-4 as the Golden Bears also defeated the Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres Patriotes 11-0 and the University of Manitoba Bisons 5-1 on their way to the national crown.

The overtime victory marked the fifth time in six seasons that the University Cup final was decided in an extra session. Since 1999-00, only the 2002-03 final has not gone into overtime. Prior to 1999-00 only one (1973-74) of the first 37 University Cup finals went into overtime.

Alberta's victory marked the first time since 1985-86, and only the seventh time in tournament history, that the host team has won the championship, while the Golden Bears also became the first number one ranked team to win the University Cup since the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won in 1997-98.

Thomson's overtime winner capped a remarkable comeback that saw Alberta erase a 3-1 third period deficit. The fifth seeded Huskies jumped into a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Trent Adamus and Jon Barkman before the Golden Bears cut the lead in half before the opening period ended on Harlan Anderson's powerplay goal at 17:43. Anderson's goal was the first given up by Huskies netminder Thomas Vicars in the tournament, ending a University Cup record shutout streak of 137:43.

Keegan McAvoy restored Saskatchewan's two-goal lead with a powerplay goal at 7:45 of the second period. Playing a solid defensive game, the Huskies held on to their two-goal advantage until Richard Hamula scored his second goal of the tournament 7:09 into the third period.

Down by a goal, Alberta continued to pressure Saskatchewan, outshooting the Huskies 14-6 in the third period, but Vicars and the Huskies defence remained solid in preserving the one goal lead.

After calling a timeout with 54 seconds remaining in regulation, the Golden Bears pulled goaltender B.J. Boxma for an extra attacker. The move worked as Thomson sent the hometown crowd into a frenzy ripping a shot over Vicars glove with only 23 seconds remaining to tie the score at 3-3.

Saskatchewan came close to winning the game in the dying seconds as Jeff Schmidt's shot from the slot went just wide of the target with less than 10 seconds remaining.

In overtime, Thomson capped his heroics by putting a rebound of Tyler Shybunka's shot past Vicars at 5:27. Both Shybunka and fellow fifth-year senior Wade Burt earned assists on the deciding goal, while Steve Shrum, another fifth-year senior playing in his final intercollegiate game, had an assist on Thomson's tying goal.

Alberta opened its 30th tournament appearance in the University Cup with an 11-0 win over the Trois-Rivieres Patriotes before a sellout crowd of 3,009 at Clare Drake Arena on Friday, March 25th. Freshman forward Ben Kilgour led the way with a six-point game, scoring twice and adding four assists. Kilgour's six points fell one shy of the University Cup single-game scoring record held by University of Toronto Varsity Blues defenceman Brian Jones. Jones scored 4-3-7 in Toronto's 16-2 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs in the 1967 championship game. Steve Shrum (2-2-4), Jeff Zorn and Brad Tutschek each had two goals for the Golden Bears, while goaltender Dustin Schwartz made 23 saves to record his seventh shutout of the season. With the shutout, Schwartz established a new Golden Bears team record for most shutouts in a single season.

Before a crowd of 6,847 at Rexall Place Alberta advanced to its 15th University Cup final with a 5-1 win over the Manitoba Bisons on Sunday, March 27th. Five different Golden Bears, Tyler Shybunka, Joff Kehler (GWG), Steve Shrum, Richard Hamula and Jonathan Hobson scored goals for Alberta, while Everett Bear netted the Bisons lone goal.


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