Regina @ UBC
The Regina Cougars started off 2010 with a bang in their opening game of a two-game set against the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver, putting up a season high six goals in Friday night's game, en route to a 6-2 victory. Regina was lead offensively by a couple of multi-point performances, including Craig Cuthbert's two goals and Caine Pearpoint's goal and an assist. For the Cougars and their struggling powerplay which came into the weekend clicking at an abysmal 5.2%, Friday night saw the Queen City squad go 2-for-4 with the man advantage, with both powerplay markers coming in the third period. Adam Ward stood tall in net for the Cougars, making 39 saves, as UBC outshot Regina 41-26 in the contest.
Saturday night brought more positive signs for the Cougars who scored a league low 26 goals in the first-half, as Regina scored another pair of powerplay goals, but came up short in a 5-4 overtime loss. Brandon Campos lead the way for UBC, as he notched two goals and two assists including the overtime winner to lift the T-Birds to their first victory of 2010. UBC nearly blew a four-goal lead, after racing out to a 4-0 advantage early in the second period before Regina scored four goals of their own to force the game into OT. Jordan White got his third win of the season Satuday night in a 33 save performance.
Next weekend UBC makes the cross-conference trek to Winnipeg to take on the Manitoba Bisons, while Regina takes on Saskatchewan in a Saturday/Sunday home-and-home series.
Manitoba @ Lethbridge
The Manitoba Bisons fell two points further behind conference leading Alberta this weekend, earning only a split in Lethbridge against the Pronghorns. Manitoba got off on the right foot Friday night with a slim 1-0 win over the 'Horns with Mike Hellyer scoring his eighth goal of the season, and Steve Christie stopping all 44 shots he faced for his second shutout of the year. Lethbridge, who came into the weekend tied with Calgary for the third best powerplay in the conference went 0-for-9 with the man advantage.
Saturday night was a penalty filled affair, with the Bisons scoring on three of 15 powerplay chances, while Lethbridge went 2-for-9 with the man advantage. The Lethbridge charge was led by defender Ryan Potruff and rookie Adam Chorneyko who each had two goals in a 6-4 Lethbridge win. The loss dropped Manitoba 11 points behind first-place Alberta who earned a sweep of Calgary this weekend.
The Herd host UBC next weekend, while Lethbridge will play a home-and-home against Calgary.
Alberta vs. Calgary
It wasn't pretty at times, but the number-two ranked Golden Bears managed a sweep of the Calgary Dinos to open 2010. Friday night the Bears welcomed the Dinos to Clare Drake Arena, a place Calgary hadn't won in since February 5, 1999. That trend would continue as the Bears skated away with a 6-3 win over their provincial rivals. Calgary battled back from one and two goal defecits to eventually tie the score at 3-3 early in the third before Alberta scored a trio of unanswered goals for the win. Bears forward Dale Mahovsky was the catalyst for Alberta with two goals and assist to earn first star honours.
Saturday night in the Calgary half of the home-and-home, the Green and Gold rushed out to a 3-0 first period lead before things came unravelled in the second. After killing off a lengthy 5-on-3 Calgary powerplay, the Dinos got another man advantage. Calgary coach Mark Howell took a timeout to rally his troops, and got the results he was looking for when Aaron Richads found the back of the net to make it 3-1. Calgary would eventually even the score early in the third when Ryan Gillen scored his first of the year. Alberta had a pair of powerplay chances late to take the lead, but couldn't capitalize as the game went to overtime. The Bears got yet another powerplay chance to win the game, when in OT Joel Eisenkirch bowled over Travis Yonkman in the Alberta goal. Alberta once again failed on the man advantage, as the game looked as though it was headed to a shootout before Greg Gardner scored with less than 45 seconds to go in OT for a 4-3 Bears win.
The Bears sweep increased their CW lead over second-place Manitoba to double-digits. Alberta has a bye this weekend before heading to Saskatoon in nearly two weeks time, while Calgary has another home-and-home series this weekend as they take on Lethbridge.