Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Bears Are Golden

The Canadian Interuniversity Sport Men's Ice Hokcey Championship was decided Sunday night in Moncton in front of 4700 fans, and the Alberta Golden Bears stand atop the mountain after defeating the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds by a score of 3-2. It's the third CIS Hockey Championship in the last four years for the Golden Bears, who previously won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006. It is the 13th Men's Hockey Championship overall of the University of Alberta, and the second time they've won it in Moncton.

Ian McDonald of the Golden Bears, an Edmonton native, was crowned MVP of the tournament after leading all players in scoring with six points. Former all-Canadian and CIS rookie of the year Aaron Sorochan, also hailing from Edmonton, was named player of the game for Alberta after making 40 saves in the win.

"They had some good opportunities. My whole mind-set was keep my eyes on the puck at all times," Sorochan said to CIS reporters. "Tonight I was just mentally plugged and it showed with a couple of big saves early for the guys, and they scored for me late."

Alberta head coach Eric Thurston has won six CIS championships. His first title came a player in 1985-86 with the Bears, and then was an assistant coach with Rob Daum for three titles in 1999, 2000 and 2005. He has now won two titles as head coach, those coming in 2006 and 2008.

"I’m really proud of these guys. This is an incredible feeling obviously," Thurston said to CIS reporters. "UNB is just an incredible team, they’ve got a great organization. I said to [UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall] after the game that we need to have a best-of-seven series because university hockey at this level is just great."

McDonald spoke of how close the teams were. "It is extra sweet, coming into this game as the underdog. We knew we had a good team but we knew they did too," he said. "Both teams played well tonight and the game could have gone either way. It just happened that we got a few bounces go our way."

McDonald scored the winner in the final, while assisting on the tying goal by Tim Krymusa, a Morden, Manitoba native. Brian Woolger, also from Edmonton, scored the third Bears goal in the final. Justin DaCosta, a Mississauga, Ontario native, and CIS player of the year Rob Hennigar, hailing from Jordan, Ontario, replied for the defending CIS champion V-Reds, who came into the duel riding a 21-game winning streak.

Sophomore goaltender Michael Ouzas of Hamilton made 20 saves in the loss. The second-team all-Canadian had recorded a 5-0 career record at the University Cup dating back to last year, and had only allowed four goals in his first five starts at Nationals.

Congratulations to the Alberta Golden Bears on their 2007-08 CIS Men's Hockey Championship!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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