Jesse Gimblett scored twice as the top-seeded Alberta Golden Bears overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the No. 6 Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres Patriotes 4-2 Thursday evening in the second opening-day game of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's hockey championship.
Trailing 2-1 at the midway point of the game, Alberta scored two second-period goals in a span of 54 seconds and never looked back.
Earlier Thursday, No. 5 Manitoba beat No. 2 McGill 5-4 in overtime.
Gimblett, of Newtonville, Ont., tied the game 2-2 at the 12:34 mark of the second period, and Edmonton winger Brian Woolger sent the Bears ahead at 13:28.
Rookie defenceman Ian Barteaux of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., sealed the victory with an unassisted goal 29 seconds into the third. Alberta outshot UQTR 13-4 in the final period.
Gimblett's power-play goal in the first period got Alberta going after the Bears surrendered two UQTR goals. Louis-Etienne Leblanc of Ham-Nord, Que., and first-year rearguard Felix Petit of Jonquiere, Que., had given the Patriotes an early 2-0 lead.
"The last two years we weren't able to get the first goal and we were always coming from behind," said Gimblett, who was named Alberta's game MVP. "To be able to get that first goal got us over the hump."
Freshman Travis Yonkman was solid in goal for the Bears, stopping 34 shots. The Saskatoon native kept his team in the game in the second period when he was peppered with 17 shots.
Jean-Christophe Blanchard, a sophomore from Trois-Rivieres, Que., finished with 30 saves for UQTR.
UQTR scored on one of two power-play opportunities while Alberta went 2-for-7.
"Their power-play goal late in the first was definitely a turning point. Instead of being up by two going into the second period we were only leading 2-1," said UQTR head coach Jacques Laporte. "It's hard to win when there's such a big discrepancy in power plays."
The Canada West champion Bears (1-0) take the Pool A lead and will face host Lakehead on Saturday.
The Patriotes (0-1) face a must-win situation when they face Lakehead Friday, and would still need some help on Saturday should they defeat the Wolves.
In Thursday's early game, Mike Hellyer's second goal of the game 1:51 into overtime lifted the Bisons past the Redmen.
Hellyer, who spent four seasons with the Western Hockey League's Prince Albert Raiders, beat McGill netminder Hubert Morin to cap a furious rally by the Bisons. Manitoba trailed 4-1 after two periods, but scored three goals in the third - the last coming with five seconds left in regulation - to force extra time.
"This is the biggest goal of my career so far," said Hellyer, who was the Bisons' top goal-scorer in the regular season with 11 goals in 28 games. "We never lost focus, we never gave up. This is a huge victory for the Bisons program."
Kyle Howarth had a pair of goals, while Ian Duval scored once and added an assist. Jared Walker chipped in with three helpers.
Sebastien Rioux, Guliaume Doucet, Simon Marcotte Legare and Alexandre Picard-Hooper countered for the Redmen, who peppered the Bisons with 17 first-period shots but had just 12 the rest of the way.
The Redmen (0-1) will face No. 3 Saint Mary's on Friday afternoon, while the Bisons (1-0) and Huskies conclude round-robin play in Pool B on Saturday.