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Golden Bears Weekend Preview: On The Road In Regina

After getting three out of four possible points in the first weekend of the year, the Golden Bears travel to Regina for a pair of games.

It’s week two of the Golden Bears’ conference schedule and once again the team is on the road, this time in Regina where they’ll play a pair of games against the Cougars. Before getting into that matchup let’s take a step back and take a look at the Golden Bears’ season opening series against the Lethbridge Pronghorns, starting with the closing thought from my preview of that series.

This weekend is probably less about "Will the Golden Bears win?" and more about "How much will they win by?" But early in the year you never know what can happen, that’s why they play the games.

Through the first 51 minutes on Friday night the game remained tied at zero. The Bears held a slight advantage in shots - 20-16 after two periods - but it wasn’t the kind of lopsided affair that can occur when these two teams meet up. Eventually the Golden Bears managed to get a puck past Pronghorns goalie Dylan Tait and break the tie, when Jordan Hickmott, with assists from Mitchell Topping and Levko Koper, found the back of the net at the 11:23 mark of the third period. That goal would turn out to be the winner in the Golden Bears season opener. Riley Kieser would score his first of the season into an empty net with 30 seconds to play.

Game 1 Final Score: Golden Bears 2 - Pronghorns 0.

The second game of the weekend series was again a low scoring affair. Kruise Reddick and James Dobrowolski scored the game’s first two goals, giving the Golden Bears a bit of a cushion early in the second period. But before the end of that period the Pronghorns would score two of their own to even the score. And after a scoreless third period the game would go to overtime. Unlike Friday night’s contest though, the Bears clearly outplayed their opponent for long stretches of the game. They started the game by outshooting the Pronghorns 7-1 in the opening minutes, and similarly controlled the play in the third dominating the shot count by a 17-5 margin. But Tait was between the pipes for the Pronhorns again, and the Bears just could not solve him.

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With the score tied, the two teams played five minutes of four-on-four overtime but were unable to bring the game to a conclusion, and so another five minutes, now at three-on-three was played. Despite taking eight shots in the second overtime the Bears couldn’t put the game away, and when Luke Siemens came out of his net to play the puck, Pronghorns defenceman Tim Campbell intercepted the pass and only had to hit an open net to give Lethbridge the win. Not surprisingly, he didn’t miss.

Game 2 Final Score: Pronghorns 3 - Golden Bears 2 (2OT).

So after the opening weekend the Golden Bears have a 1-0-1 record, and that’s why they play the games.

Despite the setback the Golden Bears find themselves atop the CIS rankings, a position they’re very familiar with. The Bears were the nation’s top ranked team for all of last season and the final seven weeks if the 2013/14 season as well. For those keeping track at home, that’s 27 consecutive weeks in the top spot.

University of Alberta Golden Bears Unversity of Regina Cougars
CIS Ranking 1 Not Ranked
Record (CWUAA Rank) 1-0-1 (4th) 1-1-0 (6th)
Goals For/Goals Against 4/3 4/7
Shots For/Shots Against 83/57 58/70
PIM 12 12

This week the Golden Bears take on the Regina Cougars, a team that won their season opener against Manitoba by a score of 2-1 but dropped their second game 6-2. Last season Regina finished second to last in Canada West with an 8-17-3 record, including a 0-3-1 record against Alberta in which they were outscored 15-7. Once again, on paper this weekend’s matchup looks lopsided, but they play the games for a reason.