clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bears Look to Widen the Gap on the Bison After Splitting Series with Huskies

The University of Alberta Golden Bears Return Home to take on the University of Manitoba Bison

The University of Alberta Golden Bears return to Clarke Drake this weekend to take on the University of Manitoba Bison.  A rocky start in Clare Drake Arena saw the Bears fall 4-2 to the MRU Cougars two weeks ago in their home opener while their position in the CIS Men's hockey rankings slipped to third, where it has remained after splitting a series of games against the top team in the Canada West Conference and second best team in the country, the Saskatchewan Huskies. The #16in16 campaign isn't off the dominant start some Bears fans might have been hoping for, but there were a number of positives to take from series with the Huskies.

The Bears series against the Huskies started with a bang. The Huskies netted their first goal only 0:58 seconds into the contest. The marker came courtesy of the Huskies top scorer Andrew Johnson with assists to Bauml and Cable. The Bears were able to finish the first period with the score tied, however, due to a last minute marker from Hickmott with assists from Rowley and Koper.

There was only one goal scored in the second period. A  goal by Bredo from Nickles and Reddick at 5:25 put the Bears up for the first time in the game. The Bears managed to hold onto their lead until 10:18 of the third period when Logan McVeigh tied the game, with assists from Lawrence and Ross tied the game. McVeigh then scored his second of the night at 13:32 with assists to McFaull and Roach. The Bears were unable to find the back of the net once more and dropped the opening game of the series.

The Bears tallied 28 minutes of penalty time during the game, including two 10 minute misconducts. Hickmott received one for checking from behind, and Rowley received the other for checking to the head. Despite the notable depth of Bears offence, the Golden Bears cannot afford to lose notable pieces of their offense to misconduct penalties. Hickmott leads the Bears in points while Rowley sits ninth in the nation for points scored by a defenseman. The Bears offense remains more effective when key pieces aren't in the penalty box for half a period.

Saturday night's game against the Huskies had a different feeling to it. No early goals where allowed by Luke Siemens, and Rowley scored a power play goal at 12:19, assisted by Reddick and Hickmott. The Bears quickly followed their first period goal up with a goal to start the second period.  At 0:56, Leagualt scored from Keiser - a success for the Bears' new Edmonton Oil Kings alumni line. Saskatchewan pulled within one off a goal from Ross assisted by Cox and Parker at 6:27, but the rest of the period belonged to the Bears. They got two more goals: one from Hart assisted by Reddick at 11:41 and a second power play goal from Rowley assisted by Koper and Hickmott at 13:07. The Huskies added one more goal in the third (Ross from Borstmayer and Lawrence at 5:46) but couldn't overcome the Bears three-goal second period.

It's worth noting that the Bears penalty kill was 6/6 over the weekend, negating every one of the Huskies' powerplays. And while the power play was 0/2 on Friday night, it was 2/5 on Saturday night. Though it's still early in the season, it is beginning to look like the Bears go as their power play does. On night where it is working (like games against the University of Regina), the Bears deliver big wins.

The Bears were able to hand the top team in Canada West their first defeat last weekend, and now look to face the Manitoba Bison. The Bison come to Clare Drake on a three-game winning streak and are looking to move up the table. They're currently only two points behind the Bears. Unfortunately, the Bison don't line up well against the Bears on paper. They've given up more goals, scored fewer goals, have a less successful power play, and a penalty kill that sits last in Canada West. At only 67% effective, the penalty kill is clearly outmatched by the Golden Bears power play. The power play has yielded 10 goals in 31 attempts, making it the most successful in Canada West and third in the country. The one area where the Bison come out ahead is in PIMs. The Bison have spent a third less time in the box so far this season, which may limit chances for the Bears power play.

University of Alberta Golden Bears

University of Manitoba Bison

CIS Ranking


Not Ranked

Record (Rank)

5-2-1 (3rd)

4-3-1 (5th)

Goals For/Goals Against (Rank)

29/16   (1st)

22/22 (5th)

Power Play (Rank)

10/31 - 32% (1st)

5/30  - 17% (7th)

Penalty Kill (Rank)

28/30 - 93% (1st)

16/24 - 68% (8rd)



67 (6th)

Leading Scorer (G-A-PTS)

Jordan Hickmott (5-6-11)

Jordan DePape (4-7-11)

On paper, this match seems to heavily favour the Bears on paper; however, it is important to remember the Bears were stymied by the Lethbridge Pronghorns to start the year in a series that seemed similarly unbalanced. Manitoba has two players (DePape and Merasty) in the top ten of Canada West scorers. The Bears have three (Hickmott, Reddick and Koper) with Hart and Rowley in positions 15 and 16. If Manitoba can start strong, they have the possibility of causing the Bears some trouble.

If the Golden Bears can control the amount of time they spend in the penalty box and possibly draw a few penalties of their own, the games on Friday and Saturday nights should allow the Bears to distance themselves from the Bison while hopefully gaining ground on both the Huskies and UBC Thunderbirds. The University of Alberta Pandas also take on the Japanese National Women's Team during a bye week. Pandas game are Thursday, November 5th at 5pm, Saturday, November 7th at 2pm, and Sunday November 8th at 3pm.