Hockey: Canada West weekly roundup

It’s been a while since our last look at the Canada West men’s hockey picture, but with the second half of the season officially underway it’s time for our first roundup of 2012.

Bears add a friend of the Nuge

Alberta got out of the gate fast this past weekend with a pair of wins over the disappointing Calgary Dinos in a home-and-home series. In the lineup for the Bears both nights was midseason addition Brett Ferguson.

The former Red Deer Rebel played the first half of the season with Utah in the ECHL after trying out with the Oilers in September. Despite being held off the scoresheet in his first weekend, Ferguson looked solid for Alberta and will be a key if this team wants to make a trip to Fredericton.

For those of those of you watching Oil Change — the documentary on this year’s Edmonton Oilers season on Sportsnet — you’ll know Ferguson. He’s good friends with Oiler rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I’ll have more on that this Friday in the Edmonton Journal.

Friday – Alberta 3 at Calgary 2
Saturday – Calgary 4 at Alberta 4

Huskies miss six point chance against Pronghorns

It’s a rarity, but six point weekends every once and a while present themselves in Canada West hockey. Saskatchewan Huskies head coach Dave Adolph touched on that last week in the Star Phoenix, and his team had a chance to pick up half a dozen points this past weekend in Lethbridge.

The Huskies and ‘Horns completed their suspended game from early October that had been put on hold after the Zamboni in Lethbridge sprung a leak after two periods, before playing a full 60-minute contest after. Saskatchewan who led 3-0 when the Zamboni went snafu blew their three-goal advantage before Kyle Ross notched an OT winner to eek out the 4-3 win.

Saskatchewan went on to win the regularly scheduled Friday night game 5-2, setting up a chance Saturday for a six point weekend.

The Pronghorns though found a way to derail the Sled Dogs hopes during the rare weekend that featured a trio of games with points up for grabs, by scoring two third period goals in a 3-2 win. The victory was huge for Lethbridge who now sits in sixth place, one-point up on seventh place Regina, while the loss was equally important at the top of the standings for the U of S.

The Huskies instead of sitting alone in first heading into this weekend are now tied with Alberta for top spot with identical 13-3-2 records, setting up an all important weekend series at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon this coming weekend.

Friday – Saskatchewan 4 at Lethbridge 3 OT * Completion of suspended Oct. 1 game
Friday – Saskatchewan 5 at Lethbridge 2
Saturday – Saskatchewan 2 at Lethbridge 3

Dinos still don’t have it

It’s time to stop asking the question will the Calgary Dinos make a push up the standings, and start pondering whether or not this team will even have a home playoff date in the first round.

With a pair of regulation losses over the weekend to the Golden Bears the Dinos couldn’t distance themselves in the standings from the idle UBC Thunderbirds, who are still only two points back of the Dinos.

Not many people — myself included — could have foreseen this Calgary team being as underwhelming as they’ve been this season, but it seems it’s time to accept this edition of the Dinos doesn’t have the same spunk as last year’s team and won't be finding it in time to make it count.

Friday – Alberta 3 at Calgary 2
Saturday – Calgary 2 at Alberta 4

Manitoba sticking around in the race for first

The Herd aren’t going anywhere when it comes to the standings lurking a measly two points back of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the standings. Manitoba’s chances of finished first, or second for that matter, will in all likelihood be determined in two weeks time when they host Saskatchewan.

A bye week this weekend means that head coach Mike Sirant’s team will be well-rested and prepared for their matchup against the Sled Dogs, who won both games at Rutherford Rink between the two teams earlier this season.

Friday – Manitoba 3 at Regina 2
Saturday – Manitoba 4 at Regina 1

Cougars’ playoff hopes a toss-up

A three point weekend by Lethbridge against Saskatchewan has swung the race for the final playoff spot in the Pronghorns favour, but Regina still has life. There are no guarantees with either one of these bottom two teams, meaning it seems 50/50 the Cougars squeak into the watered down Canada West playoffs.

The only way I see that happening is if Lucas Gore and new Cougar Andrew Hayes — via Alaska of the ECHL and before that Cape Breton of the QMJHL — stand on their heads, much like Hayes did in his Regina debut Saturday in which he made 43-saves in the loss.

Friday – Manitoba 3 at Regina 2
Saturday – Manitoba 4 at Regina 1

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