Hockey: Bears and Bisons sweep to open regular season

It was a tale of two very different weekends for the favourites in the Canada West, as the Alberta Golden Bears skated away with a pair of victories to open the season while the Saskatchewan Huskies went into Winnipeg and laid a major egg against the Manitoba Bisons as they were swept by the Herd.

In Edmonton, the Bears power play was the difference maker over the weekend as the Green and Gold went 8 for 17 on the PP over the course of the two games, including a 3 for 4 performance Saturday night in the 5-3 win against a Regina team that was the best in the conference last year on the penalty kill. The Bears went 5 for 13 Friday night in the season opener, as they routed the Cougars 9-2. The Cougars unraveled Friday night after the Bears scored two goals in 39 seconds midway through the second period. Brant Hilton started both games for the Cougars, and was very shaky Friday allowing seven goals before being pulled. Hilton bounced back Saturday with a better performance, but it still wasn't enough. Real Cyr started for the Bears Friday, while newcomer Travis Yonkman got the start Saturday. Expect to see a goaltending tandem for the Bears early in the season. Chad Klassen led the way offensively along with linemate Derrick Ryan, as they potted seven and six points respectively over the weekend.

In Winnipeg, the Bisons made head coach Mike Sirant's return to the Manitoba bench a memorable one sweeping the Huskies for the first time in nearly two years. The Bisons won a close one Friday night, securing a 2-1 victory. Saturday night saw the Bisons rush out to a 4-0 before veterans Chris Durand and Steven Greenan then scored for the Huskies in the third to make things interesting. Manitoba then added two more goals to cement the win. Rookie Blair Macaulay was the leading Bison offensively, with two goals and assist over the weekend.

The Canada West schedule kicks into full gear next weekend with three series on tap. The Bears and Dinos will play a home and home series, Lethbridge travels to Manitoba, while UBC heads to Regina. Saskatchewan has a much needed bye-week.
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