Hockey: Canada West weekly roundup

So much for Manitoba being the cream of the Canada West crop. After a pair of wins over the weekend, it's fair to say the Saskatchewan Huskies have supplanted the Herd as the conference's top team.

Here's a look at the weekend that was out west.

Huskies top dogs

Two wins over Manitoba means there's little doubt in my mind that Saskatchewan is the best team in the conference. The Huskies used overtime to beat the Bisons Friday night, before a one goal win Saturday night. Yes those results are as close as they get, but the victories this weekend alone aren't the only reason Saskatchewan really is the best team in Canada West.

The most goals scored in the conference (35), the best powerplay percentage (24.4%) and the third best penalty kill (85.1%) which is only slightly behind the top two PK units in the conference of Alberta (85.7%) and Manitoba (86.5%) all add up to the Huskies being the best this conference has to offer.

Friday - Manitoba 4 at Saskatchewan 5 (OT)
Saturday - Manitoba 1 at Saskatchewan 2

Goalies spoil Dinos sweep dreams

After a 3-1 win Friday night in Vancouver, Calgary's goaltenders let them down Saturday against UBC. Looking for the sweep, the Dinos saw Dustin Butler surrender three goals on 12 shots through two periods before giving way to Kris Lazaruk for the third, who then surrendered two goals on seven shots.

Butler made 22 stops Friday night in a win, but along with Lazaruk, the netminders let there team down Saturday with a .737 SV%.

Friday - Calgary 3 at UBC 1
Saturday - Calgary 3 at UBC 5

Bears have some bite

Imagine where this team would be if it had any semblance of a powerplay over the first few weeks of action. The Bears quietly picked up a pair of regulation wins this weekend in Lethbridge to improve their record to 6-2-2. That total is good for second in the conference, two points better in the standings than Calgary.

Sean Ringrose was a man on a mission against the Pronghorns, scoring three of Alberta five goals combined. I believe the kids have a hashtag for that these days...#beastmode.

Friday - Alberta 3 at Lethbridge 1
Saturday - Alberta 2 at Lethbridge 1

Bisons falling back to the pack

A few weeks removed from being the number-two team in the nation, the Manitoba Bisons all of a sudden find themselves tied with UBC for fourth in the conference.

After two very good weekends to open the season, Manitoba has been inconsistent offensively either putting up big numbers (5 against Regina in a 5-1 win back on Oct. 22 and 4 goals this past Friday) or only a single goal (Oct. 21 in a 6-1 loss to the Cougars, and this past Saturday against Saskatchewan).

This team has been too hit or miss over the last several weeks to know what to expect the next time they take the ice. They've shown flashes of brilliance, but they need to spread it out more evenly.

Friday - Manitoba 4 at Saskatchewan 5 (OT)
Saturday - Manitoba at Saskatchewan 2

'Horns scoring woes surprising

With only 18 goals so far this season, four less than Regina who has the second fewest goals in CW, Lethbridge hasn't been able to put the puck in the back of the net with much conviction this season. That lack of offensive production comes as a bit of a surprise given the 'Horns haven't struggled to score over the last few years.

Sure you expect them to be giving up loads of goals given their less than stingy defence (34 goals, most against), but they also had the second most goals in the conference last year with 97. Winston Day Chief, who had 25 points last season, needs to be better after starting the season with only 3 points in 10 games. So too does Daniel Iwanski who is on pace for only seven points - 12 less than a season ago.

Friday - Alberta 3 at Lethbridge 1
Saturday - Alberta 2 at Lethbridge 1

Grassi getting it done

After 20 points last season, Max Grassi has stepped his game up to a new level this season with 10 points already through eight games. That increased production is a big reason why the T-Birds are off to a very good start.

The former BCHLer has come into his own this season as a third-year forward, playing on UBC's top line with Mike WIlgosh and Scott Wasden.

Friday - Calgary 3 at UBC 1
Saturday - Calgary 3 at UBC 5

Evan Daum is The CIS Blog's national hockey editor. Contact him at
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