Friday, September 11, 2009

Bears Rally to Beat Oilers Rooks

In what was another entertaining edition of an annual tradition, the University of Alberta Golden Bears rallied from a 2-goal third period deficit to steal a win from the Edmonton Oilers rookies with a 4-3 final.

Without marquee forward Jordan Eberle and fellow 1st round pick Alex Plante in the line up the Oilers were a bit shorthanded so rearguard Jesse Dudas played up front for a while.

The final shots on the night favored the Bears by a 43-24 margin while attendance, as always, was at or near capacity for Clare Drake. 3,009 was the official tally but I'm not sure if that included the folks hanging from the rafters.

The rookies struck first when local boy Burke Gallimore found the back of the net behind Real Cyr in the UofA goal. It wasn't a brilliant play or anything but a a scramble that ended when the puck bounced to Gallimore who was in the right spot at the right time, and left all alone. Eberle's replacement on the top line (alongside Milan Kytnar and Philippe Cornet) had no trouble firing the puck into what was basically an empty net.

The lead didn't last long though as the Bears struck right back. Alberta replied 29 seconds later on a 2-on-1 when Dale Mahovsky's quick shot beat Andrew Perugini low blocker side.

The game remained knotted up until the 15:07 mark of the middle frame when former Minnesota Golden Gopher R.J. Anderson lifted a backhand to the top shelf, short side past Olivier Roy who had come in to play midway through the game.

Edmonton Oil Kings forward Brett Breitkreuz gave the visitors a two-goal lead early in the final period when he dug a loose puck out from behind the net and stuffed it behind Roy. Breitkreuz was one of the Oilers better players on the night and was subsequently named the first star of the game for his efforts. At the start of Oil Kings camp GM Bob Green told me that he felt Breitkreuz had really dedicated himself over the summer and that he had reported in and looked like a completely different player. After seeing him play the last couple of weeks I have to say that I agree; he's taken an obvious step ahead in his development.

The second half of the third period belonged to the Bears who somehow had to find a way to claw back out of a two-goal hole. The comeback began when former Oil King blueliner Cameron Cepek unloaded a slap shot from the point that found its way through sticks and legs and past Roy.

Former Regina Pat Michael MacAngus (a teammate of Eberle's last year) evened the score when he snapped a shot past the Cape Breton netminder at the 16:58 mark setting up a thrilling finish.

with a tie, or overtime or shootout (not sure what the tie break system would have been) looming, the Bears scored the winner during a mad goalmouth battle that ended when another local product, Sean Ringrose, corralled the disc and fired it home. The freshman completed a 3-goal period which saw goals scored off stick belong to all first year Golden Bears.

Who looked good for the Oilers? I've been pumping his tires since before camp began and have no reason tonght not to continue - Stepan Novotny has shown me enough potential that I believe Edmonton should offer him a contract. He's raw and far from mistake free but his speed, vision and puck skills are clearly on a higher level than most his age. The Oilers have an exclusive window that closes on September 30th to sign the Czech import who will play a big role for the Kelowna Rockets this year.

I also liked what I saw from Cameron Abney and Jamie Bates. Abney was in every scrum it seemed and was doing his best to rile up emotions from his mates as well as the other team. Bates (photo) seemed to thrive playing against the CIS squad as he was much more noticeable tonight than he was in Leduc against the Canucks.

Dalton Prout had another solid game tonight after an impressive showing against Vancouver in Leduc on Thursday. After the game I spoke with the former Sarnia and Barrie defender about his personal performance during the past week and if he felt he may have earned a longer look at main camp. You can hear that conversation HERE.

Also on the postgame agenda was Saskatoon Blades forward Burke Gallimore who was a guest on TPS a couple of weeks ago. I asked him if he was happy with the way he'd played over the last 5 days and how satisfied he was that, as a goal scorer, he was able to show exactly what he can do. You can hear that interview HERE.

The only member of the Oilers brass that shared his feelings after the game was Kevin Prendergast who complimented a few guys but didn't reveal too much about who might have earned a spot at main camp. Here that scrum HERE.

Main camp begins on Sunday, 8:15 AM at Rexall Place.

(Photos Courtesy: Stockton Thunder, Edmonton Oil Kings, Andy Devlin)


Hockey Noob said...

Okay, here's a question that's going to show my ignorance. How is it that the Golden Bears have a winning record vs the Oilers prospects? College kids vs drafted hockey players? I never really did figure that one out...

I'm a U of Eh alumni, so I loved the game btw.

MattL said...


Most of the U of A players come out of major junior or junior A, just like the Oilers Rookies team. If they're playing CIS hockey, they either went undrafted, or chose not to pursue a pro career, so although they may not be individually as skilled, the Bears are usually older, and most importantly, have been playing together as a team for 2-4 years. And the Golden Bears are arguably the best university hockey program in the country.

Guy Flaming said...

Factor in age as well.

Oiler rookies: 18-21 for the most part, smattering of slightly older guys.

UofA: all at least 20. 20-24.

more experience, more physical maturity, more "team" aspect = success.