Hockey: Canada West weekly roundup

With the top team in the conference the Manitoba Bisons enjoying a bye weekend, there was some space for some other schools to step up and make a move up the standings this weekend, with the #5 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies and the #10 Calgary Dinos the biggest movers.

Huskies take top spot

Saskatchewan headed into Clare Drake Arena looking to show that they in fact were the best team in the conference and not Manitoba — the Huskies after all would've went into the weekend in first if it weren't for the Zamboni incident earlier this season. By earning a trio of points against Alberta, the Huskies proved they're every bit as good as Manitoba.

Head coach Dave Adolph talked about Saskatchewan's fast start being a byproduct of a relatively easy schedule to start, but with wins on the road against the Bears his team proved those earlier results weren't simply a result of playing non-playoff teams from a year ago.

Friday - Saskatchewan 5 Alberta 4 (SO)
Saturday - Saskatchewan 1 Alberta 2 (2OT)

Calgary looks how they should

After a sweep of Alberta last weekend and the same result against Lethbridge, Calgary head coach Mark Howell has his team moving in the right direction.

The Dinos earned convincing wins this weekend, including Friday night when they scored three powerplay goals and outshot the Pronghorns 36-12. Two wins is the sort of weekend you expect from Calgary against Lethbridge and signals that this team has put behind them their slow start to the season.

Friday - Lethbridge 1 at Calgary 5
Saturday - Calgary 4 at Lethbridge

Strueby stepping up

Regina needed Matt Strueby, a former 30 goal scorer in the WHL, to step up this season offensively after an underwhelming rookie campaign, and he's delievered.

The former Pat sits tied for fifth in conference scoring with eight points (4 goals and 4 assists) after a two goal performance on Friday night in a 5-1 win for the Cougars, before adding an assist Saturday night.

That production is welcome news for Regina after Strueby had only nine points last season as a rookie.

Friday - UBC 1 at Regina 5
Saturday - UBC 3 at Regina 2 (OT)

Powerplay the difference

With a powerplay that's clicking at 13.3% through eight games it's no wonder the Golden Bears are off to a somewhat slow start. All four of the team's losses have come by a single goal, and it's been the powerplay that's been holding them back from making the difference in those games.

Alberta has outshot the opposition in all four of those one goal losses — except for the Bears 2-1 loss Oct. 22 against Calgary in which the two teams had 19 shots a piece — but went a combined 4-for-27 on the PP in the losses.

If this team can get their powerplay rolling at something closer to 20%, they'll be much closer to where people expected them to be at the start of the season.

Friday - Saskatchewan 5 Alberta 4 (SO)
Saturday - Saskatchewan 1 Alberta 2 (2OT)

Midterm exam for T-Birds upcoming

UBC picked up a split against Regina this weekend on the road and returns home this week for their second home series of the season against Calgary — already. The quirky scheduling provides an interesting litmus test for this UBC team. The Dinos come into the weekend hot, while UBC has been consistent this season splitting every weekend series.

If the T-Birds can earn a win like they did during their opening weekend it will tell us a lot about both teams. More in fact than the first meetings between Calgary and UBC did.

Friday - UBC 1 at Regina 5
Saturday - UBC 3 at Regina 2 (OT)

Slow starters again

The Pronghorns are off to yet another slow start this season, thanks in large part to their struggles at home. Lethbridge is the worst team at home so far this season at 1-3-0 (closer to 1-4-0...Zamboni) and lost again this weekend at home to Calgary.

Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge hasn't been kind so far to the 'Horns, and they'll need to change that right away if they want to salvage another slow first half of the season. They'll get an opportunity to do that this weekend in a rare Saturday-Sunday series against Alberta.

Friday - Lethbridge 1 at Calgary 5
Saturday - Calgary 4 at Lethbridge 1
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