In the only two CIS games this weekend that featured a pair of top 10 teams going head-to-head, the #1 Alberta Golden Bears and #10 Calgary Dinos delivered a pair of terrific contests in their home-and-home series that saw Alberta escape with two one-goal victories, while the rest of the conference split their weekend sets.
Dinos come up just short
Friday night in the Calgary leg of the home-and-home, the Dinos came up just short of handing Alberta a loss in what was a wild finish at Father David Bauer Arena.
Matt Isbister's goal with only 1:04 to go in the third broke a 3-3 deadlock, with the Dinos poised to score a big win over their provincial rivals - that is before the Bears' Chad Klassen evened the score with only 18 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
Extra time would solve nothing, with Sean Ringrose scoring the lone shootout goal in the fifth round to give Alberta the entertaining 5-4 win.
Saturday night was another exciting one-goal game, with the Bears securing a 2-1 win. Calgary netminder Kris Lazaruk was stellar in goal for the Dinos, making 33 stops and giving his team a chance to win.
In the end it took a big save from Alberta's Real Cyr who stopped Teegan Moore point-blank with Lazaruk pulled in the third to assure the Green and Gold of the win, in the second game of what was a terrific series.
After looking so-so when these two teams met to open the season, Calgary looked like a much improved squad, and it's apparent Mark Howell has this team moving in the right direction as the calendar flips to November.
'Horns get in the win column
With Brian Matte and Andrew Courtney back in the lineup, the Lethbridge Pronghorns got their first win of the season Friday night at home with an 8-4 victory over the #8 Manitoba Bisons.
Both Matte and Courtney had goals in their returns to the lineup after suffering through injury problems. Scott Bowles wasn't back in action for Lethbridge this weekend, as he continues to nurse an ankle injury.
It was a wide open affair Friday, with the two teams combining for 81 shots on goal and 12 goals, with Steve Christie avoiding the high scoring affair, as backup Jesse Deckert went the distance after Mike Sirant gave the second stringer his first start of the season.
Christie would be in goal for the Saturday night affair though, picking up the 5-2 win for the Herd.
That score is a little misleading, with Manitoba and Lethbridge deadlocked at 2-2 until 15:47 of the third when Travis Mealy broke the tie. Tyler Dittmer would add a goal, along with an empty netter from Blair Macaulay to cap off the win, in what was a close game for 55 minutes.
Christie was big in goal for Manitoba, making 35 saves including stops on all 16 shots he faced in the second.
After coming into the regular season in a virtual dead heat with Alberta in the preseason coaches poll, the Herd have yet to assert themselves as the elite team they were expected to be this season in the wide open west.
Cougars-Thunderbirds go halfsies
Heading into the weekend Regina's season so far was best summed up by the fact that in their three wins they had outscored the opposition 9-4, contrasted with their three losses in which they had been outscored 18-1. Talk about two very different teams. That inconsistency was addressed this weekend by the Cougars, with the end result though the same for head coach Blaine Sautner's squad - a split.
In a crazy third period Friday that saw both teams score a trio of goals, UBC would escape with a 6-5 win to get their first road victory of the season in their first game east of the Rockies.
Marc Desloges and Wyatt Hamilton both had two goal games for the T-Birds in the win.
Saturday night Regina would come back with another solid offensive performance,a nd this time it would be coupled with some defence. The Cougars rushed out to a 5-0 lead early in the second period, and that lead would prove more than enough in the end securing a 6-2 win over UBC.
Lucas Isley had a pair of goals in the win, along with rookies Brett Leffler and Matt Strueby each adding a goal and an assist.
Despite the fact that the result was the same for Regina - a weekend split - the way they did it was very different, losing a close game Friday night as opposed to being blown out like their previous three losses.
For both teams it was an acceptable weekend. UBC picked up their first road win of the season, and Regina showed off some offence and more consistency.
Former CIS star paying it forward - Michael Linklater is still enjoying the ride at the North American Indigenous Games.
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