April 1, 2020

THE WAIT ENDED

Twenty years ago, a fifth team won its second CCAA National Hockey Championship nearly two decades after it won its first.

The 1999-2000 hockey playoff pairings in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference were not determined until the final weekend of the regular season. The SAIT Trojans (20-5-3) of Calgary occupied top spot for the final 11 weeks of the regular campaign to finish atop the standings for the first time since 1981-82.

In the conference semi finals, SAIT faced the Red Deer College Kings. Kent Baumbach made 51 saves and Shaun Wedderburn netted the winner with 1:38 gone in the third to lift the Kings to a 3-1 victory. The Trojans then rebounded with a 10-3 win as Craig Bilick completed the hat trick while Evan Perry and Kevin Martin each tallied twice. In the deciding game, Mike Hofstrand and Kris Finch each pocketed a pair as SAIT defeated Red Deer 7-1.

In a rematch of the 1996-97 conference final, the Trojans captured their fifth ACAC title with a championship series sweep over the NAIT Ooks. Denis Gaudet's hat trick paced SAIT to a 5-1 victory in the series opener. Taylor Wildeman and Kris Finch paced the Trojans with three goal performances en route to a 10-1 triumph. Craig Bilick then notched the winner as SAIT edged NAIT 4-3 in the series ender.

The Trojans then travelled to North York, Ontario to compete in the 2000 CCAA National Hockey Championships against the Sir Sandford Fleming Knights and the Seneca College Sting.

In the tournament opener, SAIT exploded with five second period markers en route to a 9-3 win over OCAA champion Seneca. Evan Perry tallied twice for the Trojans while Kevin Martin, Taylor Wildeman, Dan Hopfner, Craig Billick, Bob Faktor, Mike Hofstrand and Aaron Shrieves added singles.  Brad Cripps, Mike Keating and Chris Torkoff answered for the Sting.

SAIT then capitalized with three power play goals to clinch a berth in the gold medal game with a 7-1 triumph over Sir Sandford Fleming.  David Scully pocketed a pair while Dan Hopfner, Denis Gaudet, Duncan Cook, Kevin Martin, and Craig Bilick added singles for the Trojans.  Tom Chambers replied for the Knights.  Outshooting Sir Sandford Fleming 62 to 36, SAIT held period leads of 3-1 and 6-1.

Sir Sandford Fleming's Wes Neild notched his second goal of the contest with 40 seconds gone in the extra period to lift the Knights to a 5-4 victory over the champion Seneca College Sting to advance to the tournament final.  Gary Montgomery, Rick Murray, and Peter Willis also scored for Sir Sandford Fleming.  Joel Julien, Mike Keating, Chris Torkoff, Ryan Preston replied for Seneca.  Outshooting the Sting 50-39, the Knights led 1-0 after the first and trailed 4-2 following the second before adding a pair in the third to send the game into overtime.

In the championship final, the SAIT thumped the Sir Sandford Fleming 16-2 to raise the CCAA Championship Bowl for the first time since 1981.  Mike Hofstrand netted four goals. Evan Perry and Cory Flett each completed hat tricks. David Alexander and Taylor Wildeman each tallied twice. Craig Bilick and Jeremy Yousph each added singles for the Trojans. Peter Willis and Gary Robertson countered for the Knights. Outshooting Sir Sandford Fleming 88-40, the SAIT held period leads of 6-0 and 12-2. It was the highest scoring gold medal game in the history of the CCAA National Hockey Championships.

The coach of the 2000 CCAA National Hockey Champions, Ken Babey, enters the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as a part of the 2020 induction class.


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