Sim shuts out Saskatchewan as Alberta takes men’s hockey bronze at Canada Winter Games

Team Alberta goaltender Drew Sim makes a save against Team Saskatchewan's Logan Linklater during the men's hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Sim aided Team Alberta to a 12-0 shutout win over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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Drew Sim picked up the biggest shutout of his hockey career thus far on Friday.

The Tees, Alta. native, and Vancouver Giants prospect, backstopped Team Alberta to a 37-save, 12-0 victory over Team Saskatchewan Friday afternoon to win men’s hockey bronze at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

“It’s a really surreal feeling,” Sim said. “The boys battled hard and helped me out a lot there – I’m really happy the boys were able to pull out a W, even though it’s 12-0. It was really fun.”

Sim began round-robin play in between the pipes for Team Alberta last Saturday, where he stopped 18 shots in a 4-3 loss to the very Team Saskatchewan his team would defeat for bronze. In Game 2, goaltender Lochlan Gordon made the start in a 6-5 win over Manitoba, and in Game 3, Sim finally got his first win of the tournament, stopped 27 shots in a 5-4, come-from-behind victory that clinched Alberta first place in Pool B heading into the quarterfinals.

Team Alberta Associate Coach Jeff Shantz talks with goaltenders Drew Sim and Lochlan Gordon during a break in play during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Gordon was given the start for the quarterfinals against New Brunswick last Wednesday night, but after allowing three goals on eight shots in the first, he was pulled in favour of Sim, who stopped all 11 shots he faced as Team Alberta rallied for an 8-3 win.

Sim would then get the start in the semifinals against Team Ontario. Ultimately, however, his 18 saves on 26 shots wouldn’t be good enough to out-duel Ontario’s Benjamin Gaudreau and his 40 saves on 44 shots, and Alberta fell 8-4, losing their shot at gold on home ice.

Fortunately, they’d still have a shot at a medal, and Sim would get the nod for the bronze medal game and a chance to help his team redeem themselves. While there was undoubtedly pressure, he said he was comfortable in between the pipes.

“I was really calm,” he said. “I knew I could do it, even if (the puck) goes in, I knew it was going to bounce back. I just knew I had it.”

Team Saskatchewan’s Logan Linklater battles with Team Alberta defenceman Kyle Masters in front of goaltender Drew Sim during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Sim aided Team Alberta to a 12-0 shutout win over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Alberta Head Coach Bobby Fox said the first period was his team’s best defensively of the tournament, but credited part of that to an early, but key, save by Sim.

“The first shift he had to make a pretty big save on a two-on-one against some dangerous forwards. That kind of set the tone, settled the guys in,” Fox said. “He had some help, a lot of sacrifices – guys were putting their body on the line, even in the last minute. They were doing it for him and it was good to see.”

Matt Savoie would open the scoring for Alberta, and add two more goals and two assists during the game. Craig Armstrong and Dylan Guenther would each add two goals. Tyson Laventure, Zack Stringer, Olen Zellweger, Owen MacNeil and Marc Lajoie would add a goal apiece in what was very much a bounce-back game for Team Alberta.

“It’s a sombering moment when you don’t get to go for gold. I think that was our message today – be grateful for this opportunity. We’re part of something big, we’re part of Team Alberta and we want to add to that medal count and just cherish the moment,” said Fox.

“I’m super proud of this group. They’re going to look back and it’s going to be a big moment for them. It’s not the gold medal, but not many teams can say they’ve medalled at the Canada Winter Games. I know they’re pretty jacked in that room, and as a staff we’re extremely proud.”

In the gold medal game, Team Quebec edged Team Ontario 4-3 in overtime.

On Sunday, Team Alberta’s female hockey team will start their part of the tournament at 7:30 p.m. at the Enmax Centrium.

A Team Alberta fan cheers a second period goal during the bronze medal mens hockey match at the Enmax Centrium at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Team Alberta fans cheer a second period goal during the bronze medal mens hockey match at the Enmax Centrium at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Zack Stringer of Team Alberta controls the puck in front of Team Saskatchewan goaltender Brett Mirwald during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Tyson Laventure of Team Alberta battles with Logen Hammett of Team Saskatchewan during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Team Saskatchewan goaltender Brett Mirwald sprawls trying to make a save as Team Alberta’s Jayden Grubbe and teammates drive the net during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Zack Stringer iof Team Alberta is pursued by Nolan Allan of Team Saskatchewan during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Team Alberta Captain Sean Tschigerl battles with Gabriel Klassen of Team Saskatchewan during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Matt Savoie, #14, and Olen Zellweger, #2, celebrate a second period goal during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Goaltender Brett Mirwald of Team Saskatchewan reaches out to make a save on Zack Ostapchuk of Team Alberta during the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Team Alberta celebrates their bronze medal win over Team Saskatchewan at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Team Alberta goaltender Drew Sim shakes hands with Team Saskatchewan goaltenders Justin Dueck and Brett Mirwald following the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Matt Smith of Team Alberta waves a team flag following the men’s hockey bronze medal match at the Enmax Centrium as part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Team Alberta won 12-0 over Team Saskatchewan. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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