EDMONTON – Needing one more win to secure first place in the Canada West Prairie Division, the University of Alberta Golden Bears came up short, as they dropped a 2-0 decision to the defending conference champion Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday afternoon at Foote Field.
The Huskies broke a 0-0 tie in the second half thanks to goals from Gabriel Buatois and Luigi Bekwayo, and in the process move to 5-3-3 on the season, and more importantly clinch the final playoff spot in the Prairie Division. Saskatchewan now has 18 points on the season and has locked down the final of four playoff spots in the division as fifth place Lethbridge, with 14 points and one game remaining, can no longer catch them.
Alberta, meanwhile, drops to 8-3 on the season, but remains one point ahead of the Calgary Dinos for top spot in the division. Sitting at 24 points, if the Bears can win their final game on Sunday, against Lethbridge at 2:00 p.m. at Foote Field, they will secure first place.
After a decent first half by both teams, the Huskies finally lit the scoreboard up in the 54th minute. Taking advantage of some miscues in the defensive end by Alberta, Saskatchewan rushed along the right side of the field and into the Alberta goal area with a free man. Fifth-year striker Garrett Peters was able to pick out rookie midfielder Gabriel Buatois all alone in the Golden Bears six-yard box and the freshman made no mistake collecting his first goal of the season.
Just three minutes later the Huskies doubled their advantage when they again caught the Bears out of shape in the back end as Marcello Gonzales rolled the ball across the top of the six-yard box where Luigi Bekwayo slotted the ball into the corner for the 2-0 lead.
The Golden Bears eventually began to apply some pressure of their own as the second half approached and end, and even outshot Saskatchewan 6-2 in the final 45 minutes, but came away empty handed as the Huskies claimed a 2-0 win and the final Prairie Division playoff berth.
Alberta will close out the regular season tomorrow at home against the Lethbridge Pronghorns at 2:00 p.m., while Saskatchewan will do the same here in Edmonton at the MacEwan Griffins. Sunday's tilt will be the final home regular season game for Golden Bear fifth-year CJ Gilroy, Niko Saler, Moe Teliani and Logan Grenier.