I'll save myself some writing and include the links at the bottom of this post for the coverage from our Evan Daum as well as local Thunder Bay writers Leith Dunick and Reuben Villagracia, who between them have captured the game play and all of the good quotes from the post-game press conferences. Leith, who doesn't have the space restrictions of Reuben, has been generating lots of copy this week in T-Bay (or you can just give him credit for being more productive than Reuben!).
From my viewpoint Manitoba admittedly surprised me in battling back from the two-goal deficit against McGill after the first period. To be fair the Bisons missed several open nets in the first 20 minutes, and rung a couple of pucks off the iron. The scrambly goal by Ian Duval with 4.8 seconds left in regulation was dramatic to tie it, and then Mike Hellyer's goal in overtime, his second of the game, off the pass by Duval was obviously huge for the 5-4 win. It was interesting to hear McGill coach Jim Webster single out, and not compliment, the refereeing in the post game news conference. Webster stated the tight calling of penalties forced McGill to ease up their strong fore check after the first period, and he felt that helped the Bisons get back in the game.
In the evening game, Alberta for the third year in a row came out flat in the first period. UQTR was quicker on the puck and the Golden Bears defence struggled to break out of their zone cleanly with the puck. If Jesse Gimblett doesn't score that power play goal in the last minute of the first period to change the momentum, one wonders what might have happened. Like Webster, UQTR head coach Jacques Laporte was not happy with the officiating and the penalties they had to kill in the final two periods. I thought their last two hooking calls were simply because Alberta had their feet moving and UQTR was sagging under the pressure. After the 4-2 loss both Laporte and his players said that their dramatic comeback against Western in the Queen's Cup gives them confidence in what they can control - how they play their game.
If you're keeping score that is two wins for Canada West and two losses for the OUA. Just sayin'.
So 2:00 pm this afternoon we have McGill looking to bounce back against Saint Mary's, who are on their own redemption tour. UQTR gets to face Lakehead at home at 7:30 tonight, when we should finally see a big crowd here at the University Cup. We'll have liveblogs here for both games.
Best of the West (Reuben Villagracia, Chronicle Journal)
Bisons shock Redmen in OT (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)
Golden Bears double Patriotes (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)
Bears top Patriotes to open nationals (Evan Daum, South Campus Sports)