EDMONTON — A strong second half helped propel the Alberta Golden Bears past the Regina Rams in their Canada West season opener Friday.
The Bears outscored Regina 22-6 in the final 30 minutes – highlighted by Tylor Henry’s 4th quarter touchdown, giving Alberta a 29-22 win. It was their first on-field season opening victory in five years. (The Bears were credited with a season opening win over Calgary last season after the Dinos fielded an ineligible player).
Down 22-21 with under three minutes to go in the game, fourth-year linebacker Brandon Foster picked off Noah Picton to give the Bears a fighting chance. Just five plays later, rookie quarterback Ben Kopczynski found Tylor Henry for the game-winning touchdown. Jimmy Ralph added a two-point conversion to give the Bears the win.
Kopczynski was impressive in his CIS Football debut, completing 22 of 36 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown. Third-year running back Ed Ilnicki led the team in rushing with 16 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Alberta (1-0) now returns to Foote Field to prepare for their home opener against the Saskatchewan Huskies (0-1) on Friday, September 11 at 7 p.m.
Around the Canada West
It was a perfect start for the defending Hardy Cup Champion Manitoba Bisons as they spoiled the Saskatchewan Huskies home opener with a 34-28 win. Manitoba erased a 13-point deficit en route to their victory.
Mercer Timmis entered the record books as the Calgary Dinos blew past the UBC Thunderbirds 49-16. With a pair of touchdowns, Timmis notched his 36th career major – the most in team history. The win spoiled Blake Nill’s return to Calgary. Nill spent nine years with the Dinos, leading them to three Vanier Cup appearances. He left the team in the off-season to take over UBC’s football program.