For the second consecutive year the Alberta Golden Bears took home the CIS men’s University Cup, while the Western Mustangs are CIS women’s champions for the first time in the program’s history.
Both CIS championship tournaments began on Thursday, March 12 and ran through to Sunday, with the men’s championship being played in Halifax, N.S., while Alberta hosted the women’s playoff. For both winning schools, Alberta and Western, their runs to the championship were dominant.
Alberta, the winningest program in CIS men’s hockey history, captured their 15th title by lambasting opponents with a balanced attack. Their route to the final against University of New Brunswick’s Varsity Reds included 5-1 thrashings of the St. Francis Xavier X-Men and the UQTR Patriotes. Against the Varsity Reds, however, it was a back and forth battle.
The Golden Bears opened the scoring little more than two minutes into the first period on a Stephane Legault tally, which was followed by a Jordan Hickmott power play goal to put Alberta ahead 2-0. After UNB scored minutes into the second frame to draw within one, Johnny Lazo scored to put Alberta back ahead by two with three seconds left in the period.
Though Alberta entered the final period with a 3-1 lead, UNB kept it close on a Phillippe Maillet goal eight minutes into the third. Three minutes later, Kruise Reddick’s goal put the Golden Bears back in front by two, before Varsity Reds’ Adrian Robertson once again brought the score back within one.
With two and a half minutes remaining, however, Levko Koper scored a shorthanded goal for Alberta that was the final nail in the coffin. Jordan Rowley added an empty netter, and the Golden Bears hoisted the University Cup for the second year in a row. Alberta goaltender Kurtis Mucha made six saves on nine shots in the win.
Reddick, who had the game-winning goal and three goals and four points in the tournament, was named the MVP of the playoff and selected to the all-star team.
On the women’s side, it was Western goaltender Kelly Campbell that was the tournament’s star, her final stat line reading three games played, one goal against, a 0.33 goals-against average and .989 save percentage.
Campbell, who told the Calgary Sun she was playing men’s recreation league hockey fours years ago before joining the Mustangs, was beaten midway through the second period of Western’s first game against Moncton, and then refused to surrender another goal the rest of the way. Western downed Moncton 3-1, Montreal 2-0, and defending champion McGill 5-0 en route to the Mustangs’ first ever women’s championship.
In the victory over McGill, Campbell turned aside all 38 shots against, more than double the shot total both Martlett’s netminders faced. McGill’s Taylor Hough was pulled after allowing three goals on seven shots and Brittany Smrke’s relief stint saw her allow two goals on eight shots.
Stacey Scott, who had an unassisted goal in the final, was Western’s leading scorer in the tournament, racking up two goals and four points in the three-game championship run, tying her with six others for the tournament’s scoring lead.