Each week during the Canada West men’s hockey season, CW and the Western Hockey League honour three WHL Grads now playing in CW. Here are the CW-WHL three stars for the weekend of March 1-3, following the Alberta Golden Bears win in the CW Final.
FIRST STAR: G – Zach Sawchenko
Alberta Golden Bears
WHL experience (2013-17): Moose Jaw Warriors
GAME LOG: Friday, March 1 – 4 GA in 4-2 loss to Saskatchewan / Saturday, March 2 – 20-save shutout in 3-0 win vs. Saskatchewan / Sunday, March 3 – 29-save shutout in 1-0 win vs. Saskatchewan.
In a battle for the Canada West title, bragging rights among the conference’s top net minders were also up for grabs.
Alberta’s Zach Sawchenko and Saskatchewan’s Taran Kozun, who tied this season in save percentage (.926) and shutouts (five), took centre stage, with Sawchenko winning this round in the crease.
After an uncharacteristic four goals against Friday night in a 4-2 Game 1 loss, Sawchenko was unbeatable the rest of the way for the Bears, who earned wins Saturday and Sunday night to claim their 28th Canada West title.
Saturday night, Sawchenko stopped 20 shots, as the Bears skated to a 3-0 victory. The former Moose Jaw Warrior was even better Sunday, stopping 29 Saskatchewan shots in a 1-0 Alberta win.
Next up for Alberta, the University Cup March 14-17 in Lethbridge, where the CW champs will look to defend their national title.
SECOND STAR: F – Grayson Pawlenchuk
Alberta Golden Bears
WHL experience (2013-18): Red Deer Rebels
GAME LOG: Friday, March 1 – 2A in 4-2 loss to Saskatchewan / Saturday, March 2 – 1G in 3-0 win vs. Saskatchewan / Sunday, March 3 – 2 shots in 1-0 win vs. Saskatchewan.
Newly crowned Canada West Rookie of the Year Grayson Pawlenchuk had a strong CW Final debut, as the former Red Deer Rebel combined for a goal and two assists in Alberta’s three-game series win.
Pawlenchuk assisted on both Alberta goals Friday night in a 4-2 setback for the Bears. In Game 2, the rookie scored his third of the playoffs midway through the third, as Alberta took a 3-0 lead.
A 22-point man during the regular season, Pawlenchuk had a pair of shots Sunday night in Alberta’s narrow 1-0 win over Saskatchewan to claim CW gold.
THIRD STAR: F – Luke Philp
Alberta Golden Bears
WHL experience (2012-16): Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels
GAME LOG: Friday, March 1 – 1 shot in 4-2 loss to Saskatchewan / Saturday, March 2 – 4 shots in 3-0 win vs. Saskatchewan / Sunday, March 3 – 1G 1-0 win vs. Saskatchewan.
It might have taken CW Player of the Year Luke Philp a while to find his playoff scoring touch, but luckily for the Alberta Golden Bears, the third-year forward picked the right time.
After being held off the score sheet in Games 1 and 2 of the CW Final this weekend in Saskatoon, Philp scored the lone goal Sunday night in Bears’ 1-0 Game 3 victory.
Philp, who led the conference with 45 points this season, now shifts his focus to helping Alberta defend their national title at the University Cup, beginning March 14.
About Canada West men’s hockey:
Each season more than 100 WHL Graduates use their WHL Scholarship with one of eight Canada West men’s hockey programs. Through CW’s continued partnership with the WHL, players are given the opportunity to pursue high level hockey and a degree simultaneously, allowing student-athletes to achieve their athletic and academic goals.
You can watch every CW men’s hockey game all season long by visiting CanadaWest.TV. For more information on CW men’s hockey, click here.
Canada West – training leaders, building champions
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.