Photo credit Josh Shaefer www.joshschaeferphotography.com
SASKATOON (CIS) – Shawn O’Donnell and Cory Tanaka tallied four points apiece as the Saint Mary’s University Huskies qualified for the CIS men’s hockey national final thanks to a 5-1 win over the Waterloo Warriors at the Credit Union Centre, Saturday afternoon.
University Cup website: www.universitycup.ca
Saint Mary’s, Waterloo and the top-ranked Alberta Golden Bears all ended pool A play with a 1-1 record but the Huskies took first place thanks to a plus-3 goal differential, compared to an even mark for Alberta and minus-3 for Waterloo.
The AUS conference finalists advance to the championship match for the first time since 2010, when they captured their lone University Cup title with a 3-2 overtime triumph against Alberta in Thunder Bay, Ont. Before 2010, the Huskies had skated in four CIS finals, losing to Toronto four straight years from 1970 to 1973.
Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Saskatchewan Time, live on Sportsnet ONE and www.CIS-SIC.tv, they will face the winners of tonight’s pool B finale between UNB and UQTR.
O’Donnell a fourth-year senior from Halifax, and Tanaka, also a fourth-year forward from Stouffville, Ont., both had two markers and a pair of assists, with Tanaka scoring the game-winner six minutes and five seconds into the middle period.
The Huskies were holding on to a slim 2-1 lead with 14 minutes left in regulation when they exploded and beat goaltender Keaton Hartigan three times in a span of eight minutes.
Despite the loss, Hartigan was named Waterloo player of the game for the second straight contest thanks to a 45-save performance. He had turned aside 42 pucks on Thursday in a 2-1 upset victory over Alberta.
His counterpart Anthony Peters finished with 23 saves.
“We came out as a desperate team... we were getting bounces and pucks were going in,” said O’Donnell, who was third in team scoring in the regular season with 26 points in 28 games, added six points in seven contests in the AUS playoffs, and was kept off the score sheet on Friday against Alberta.
“We were well aware of the situation,” said SMU head coach Trevor Stienburg about his team needing to win by a score of more than 2-1 in order to advance to the final. “It’s a strange situation to be in but, thankfully, we were able to get some offence going in the third.”
Waterloo opened the scoring just 25 seconds into the game on a
goal from CIS scoring champion Justin Larson, his second of the
tournament. Colin Behenna corralled a loose puck behind the net and
found Larson standing in the slot.
O’Donnell tied it up at 16:08 of the first period. Saint Mary’s entered the offensive zone on an odd man rush with Stephen Johnston carrying the puck wide. His centering pass found O’Donnell back door, and the sniper made no mistake.
The Huskies took a 2-1 lead early in the second when O’Donnell centered a pass from the corner that bounced into the air and off of a skate in front. Tanaka was first to the loose puck and beat Hartigan.
The Huskies doubled their advantage 6:18 into the final frame. O’Donnell carried the puck in the offensive zone and fired a long wrist shot that beat Hartigan over the blocker.
The AUS silver medallists would add two insurance markers in the next eight minutes, with O’Donnell drawing assists on both.
Off of a Waterloo turnover, Tanaka capped off a 2-0 rush at
9:23. The final goal of the game came on the power play when
Michael Stickland received a cross ice pass from Tanaka and beat
Hartigan at 14:51.
Discipline caught up with the Warriors in their bid for a comeback. Waterloo took 19 minutes in penalties in the final 10:16 of the affair.
“We took (some penalties) that were uncharacteristic of our team, it was just emotions and some players got caught up in it,” said Waterloo head coach Brian Bourque. “I’m still at a lack of words for what happened. We had a couple breakdowns and were undisciplined... and they capitalized.”
Saint Mary’s 5, Waterloo 1
1. WAT Justin Larson (2) (Colin Behenna), 0:25
2. SMU Shawn O’Donnell (1) (Stephen Johnston, Jeff Marchand), 16:08
Lucas Bloodoff (SMU) checking to the head major, game
Kain Allicock (WAT) checking to the head, 10-minute misconduct, 17:05;
3. SMU Cory Tanaka (2) (unassisted), 6:05
Josh Woolley (WAT) holding, 7:04;
Kirt Hill (WAT) boarding, 7:43;
Michael Stickland (SMU) tripping, 16:43;
Ryan Molle (WAT) tripping, 19:16.
4. SMU Shawn O’Donnell (2) (Gerrad Grant, Cory Tanaka),
5. SMU Cory Tanaka (3) (Shawn O’Donnell), 9:23
6. SMU Michael Stickland (2) (Cory Tanaka, Shawn O’Donnell), 14:51 PP
Stephen Johnston (SMU) tripping, 0:33;
Brett Mackie (WAT) interference, 10:16;
Kirt Hill (WAT) checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct, 10:33;
Robin Clarke (WAT) slashing major, 12:10.
GOALS (by period)
SMU: 1-1-3: 5
WAT: 1-0-0: 1
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
SMU: 15-16-19: 50
WAT: 9-6-9: 24
SMU – Anthony Peters (W, 1-1, 24 shots, 24 saves, 1 GA, 60:00)
WAT – Keaton Hartigan (L, 1-1, 50 shots, 45 saves, 5 GA, 60:00)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
SMU: Shawn O’Donnell
WAT: Keaton Hartigan
REFEREES: T.J. Foster, Jeff Ingram
LINESMEN: Jason Roy, Derek Craig
POOL STANDINGS & RESULTS (SASKATCHEWAN TIME)
Pool A standings (FINAL)
GP W L GF GA PTS
1. SMU 2 1 1 8 5 2
2. Waterloo 2 1 1 3 6 2
3. Alberta 2 1 1 5 5 2
Pool B standings (after 2 of 3 games)
1. UNB 1 1 0 3 1 2
1. UQTR 1 1 0 3 1 2
3. Sask 2 0 2 2 6 0
Thursday, March 14
1:00 pm Pool A #1: Waterloo 2, Alberta 1
7:20 pm Pool B #1: UNB 3, Saskatchewan 1
Friday, March 15
1:00 pm Pool A #2: Alberta 4, Saint Mary’s 3 (OT)
7:00 pm Pool B #2: UQTR 3, Saskatchewan 1
Saturday, March 16
1:30 pm Pool A #3: Waterloo vs. Saint Mary’s
8:00 pm Pool B #3: UNB vs. UQTR (Sportsnet & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Sunday, March 17
5:30 pm University Cup Final: Saint Mary’s vs. TBD (Sportsnet ONE & www.CIS-SIC.tv)