Hockey: Canada West weekly roundup

After a week away from the roundup it's time to catch up on where the teams stand after another interesting weekend around Canada West. Here's our second-to-last roundup of 2011, as teams head into the final weekend of first half regular season action.

Bisons on the right side of the numbers

Number-ten Manitoba reasserted themselves this weekend in the race for top spot in the conference heading into the break with a pair of wins at home over the number-nine ranked Calgary Dinos. After a split the previous weekend, the Herd couldn't be stopped Friday night in an 8-1 victory, with both Del Cowan and Blair Macaulay - who has a conference high 12 goals - finding the back of the net twice. After a 4-2 win Saturday night Manitoba now sits with a conference high 48 goals (tied with Saskatchewan) with the Bisons on pace to score 96 goals this season - 7 more than last season. Head coach Mike Sirant's team is also on pace to give up 62 goals, which would be 19 fewer goals. Add those numbers up and it's little surprise the Herd are on pace for a 40 point season.

Friday - Calgary 1 at Manitoba 8
Saturday - Calgary 2 at Manitoba 4

Saskatchewan handles UBC

The Huskies also took care of business this weekend with a home sweep against a team they've handled consistently over the last several seasons the UBC Thunderbirds. The wins marked number-seven Saskatchewan's 13th victory over UBC in the last 14 regular season meetings between the two teams. The Sled Dogs will wrap up the regular season this weekend against Regina.

Friday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4
Saturday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4

Bears escape with sweep

After a week away from action number-five Alberta used goals from six different players Friday night to earn a 6-1 win over Regina, before a narrow 4-3 OT win on Saturday night thanks to a goal from defenceman Jesse Craige. The wins marked the third consecutive series sweep for the Bears who went a perfect 6-0-0 during the month of November. A trip to Manitoba this weekend will be a good barometer of where this squad is after a relatively easy stretch of games against the conference's bottom three squads.

Friday - Alberta 6 at Regina 1
Saturday - Alberta 4 at Regina 3 (OT)

Butler gets bombarded

If you just glimpsed at the Calgary-Manitoba score you'd think this game wasn't even close, but upon further review it's clear this was simply a 20 minute meltdown. It was 2-1 heading into the third period before Manitoba proceeded to score six goals in the final frame, beating Dinos netminder Dustin Butler those half dozen times on 14 shots. Two of those goals were shorthanded to boot, with a powerplay marker from Manitoba as well. Sounds like Butler was hung out to dry, and Manitoba took advantage.

Friday - Calgary 1 at Manitoba 8
Saturday - Calgary 2 at Manitoba 4

Thunderbirds settling into bottom three

After being swept two of the last three weekends it appears UBC's solid start to the season is coming back to a point where you expect them to give everyone they play a good test, but when it boils down to it they can't run with the big boys. Save for a 2-1 win over Manitoba two weeks ago, the T-Birds haven't been able to find a winning recipe over the last three weeks. A home weekend against Lethbridge this coming Friday-Saturday should remedy that though.

Friday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4
Saturday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4

Goaltending situation in Regina

Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader Post had the rundown about what went on with the Cougars goaltending situation a few weeks ago when he wrote about A.J. Whiffen's departure, and the accompanying search for a new backup goaltender (which led the Cougars oddly enough to a former teammate of mine, Churchbridge, Saskatchewan's Nick Thies who is a U of R student and former senior men's goalie with the Churchbridge Imperials). Interesting tidbit aside, Gore getting the opportunity to play consistently could be the best thing for the Cougars by giving the rookie a real chance to get his feet wet, and get in a rhythm. Whether or not Gore splits the second half games evenly with Andrew Hayes who will be joining the team remains to be seen, but for now having Gore as the number-one is a great opportunity for him and the team.

Friday - Alberta 6 at Regina 1
Saturday - Alberta 4 at Regina 3 (OT)

Evan Daum is The CIS Blog's national hockey editor. Contact him at evandaum@gmail.com
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