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Alberta Golden Bears one win away from defending national men's hockey title

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Riley Kieser, Luke Philp, and Grayson Pawlenchuk scored third-period goals to power the defending champion Alberta Golden Bears past the No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies 3-0 in a U Sports men's hockey semifinal Saturday.

Goaltender Zach Sawchenko stopped 33 shots to register the shutout in a rematch of the Canada West final.

"We know against these guys, they're always close games," said Alberta head coach Ian Herbers. "We kept playing the right way and finally found the back of the net."

Kieser opened the scoring at 1:38 of the third before Philp made it 2-0 at 10:32. Pawlenchuk cemented the victory with a short-handed, empty-net goal at 19:30.

Top-seeded Alberta will face No. 2 New Brunswick in the final on Sunday after the Varsity Reds hammered the No. 6 St. Francis Xavier X-Men 9-1.

Kris Bennett scored four goals to lead the X-Men.



CHARLOTTETOWN — The No. 3 Guelph Gryphons scored five goals in the first period en route to a 5-0 win over the No. 2 Montreal Carabins in a U Sports women's hockey semifinal on Saturday.

Mallory Young, Claire Merrick, Ashlee Lawrence, Molly Crossman and Madison Melo scored for the Gryphons, while goaltender Valerie Lamenta registered the shutout.

"Honestly, I'm a little speechless. … I'm just so proud of this team," said Gryphons captain Kaitlin Lowy. "We've worked all year for this. We knew we were peaking at the right time, and by no means were we surprised that we came out with a big effort today.”

The Gryphons, searching for their first national title, will play No. 5 McGill in the final on Sunday after the Martlets shut out the No. 1 Alberta Pandas 1-0.

Stephanie Desjardins scored the lone goal for McGill with just over four minutes left.

"It was as if the whole world stopped spinning, it was just a blur really," Desjardins said. "It was a great pass from Laura (Jardin) and I was just in the right spot at the right time and I just shot it and hoped for the best."

Goaltender Tricia Deguire had the shutout.



QUEBEC CITY — The top-seeded Brandon Bobcats survived a scare, beating the No. 5 Alberta Golden Bears 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 24-26, 18-25, 15-10) in U Sports men's volleyball semifinal play on Saturday night.

Seth Friesen led the Bobcats with 14 kills, while Taryq Sani had 13 for Alberta.

"That was a grilling battle, and we didn't expect anything less," Brandon coach Grant Wilson said. "In the third set, we made some simple mistakes and that ended up costing us and certainly gave Alberta some momentum. We didn't respond very well until the fifth set, but we were fortunate enough to push through."

The Bobcats, chasing their first national title, will face No. 2 Trinity Western after the Spartans edged the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 19-25, 25-17, 15-6).

Eric Loeppky led the Spartans with 22 kills.



EDMONTON — The No. 8 UBC Thunderbirds pulled off another upset on Saturday night, beating the No. 4 Dalhousie Tigers 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 25-21) in semifinal play at the U Sports women's volleyball championship.

The Thunderbirds, looking for their second title in the past three years, beat the top-ranked Trinity Western Spartans in the quarterfinals.

"(Against Dalhousie), at times we let them back in with too many unforced errors," Thunderbirds coach Doug Reimer said. "(Against Trinity Western), we played at a higher level, but at the end of the day, you have to do whatever it takes."

National player of the year Kiera Van Ryk led UBC with 15 kills against Dalhousie.

UBC will face the No. 6 Ryerson Rams in the final.

The defending national champion Rams downed the No. 7 Alberta Pandas, the host team, 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-23).

The Canadian Press

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