After an exciting home and home series against the Mount Royal Couagrs for both the Pandas and Golden Bears, University of Alberta hockey returns to its more established rhythms. The Golden Bears will host the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Friday and Saturday; the Pandas will travel to Vancouver and play the Thunderbirds on the road.
The Golden Bears earned two over time wins against the Mount Royal Cougars last weekend. Their Friday night victory, in Calgary was a 4-3 overtime win. They followed it up with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win at Clare Drake arena on Saturday night. The Golden bears managed their first sweep of the year and improved their record to 4-2-0 over the weekend. The Golden Bears now sit second to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the Canada West Conference. Their offense came from a variety of sources. Luke Philp score two goals on Friday night and first year Grayson Pawlenchuk scored the game tying goal for the Golden Bears.
On Saturday night, the Golden Bears first year Curtis Miske scored twice. Once to get the Golden Bears on the board in the second and once in overtime to give the Golden Bears two points. The game tying goal came from Captain Riley Kieser with 13.5 seconds remaining in the game. The Golden Bears seem to be finding their stride in Canada West play; they’ll need that momentum as they face the UBC Thunderbirds.
UBC started the season with a 4-0 record but had a difficult weekend against the University of Calgary Dinos losing both games last weekend. Dropping to 4-2-0, the Thunderbirds have the same record as the Golden Bears. The Thunderbirds will be looking to rebound against the Golden Bears in this weekend at Clare Drake arena.
The series looks to be an interesting one with possible Canada West standing implications as all the top teams look to start strong and secure a bye to the semi-finals of the Canada West playoffs. With the U Sports National Finals taking place in Lethbridge, only the Canada West champion will be qualify and every advantage is important.
The Pandas will take on the first place UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver this weekend. After an impressive 7-0 showing against the Mount Royal Cougars which saw an offensive explosion for the Pandas at Clare Drake arena, the results in Calgary weren’t quite as positive. The Pandas lost to the Cougars 3-1 and had to settle for the splitting the series.
The UBC Thunderbirds have gotten off to a very strong start with a 4-1-1-0 record. The Pandas and the Thunderbirds had a very strong rivalry with the Thunderbirds. In the 2016-2017 season, the Pandas and the Thunderbirds played against each other in the Canada West championship series. Both teams have had strong programs for the last several years.
This season UBC has had strong performances from Emma Hall and Rylind MacKinnon. Both are in their first year of eligibility and currently sit in the top 20 in Canada West scoring. Strong performances from Hannah Clayton-Carroll and Mathea Fischer add some depth to the UBC offense.
The Pandas will be depending on Alex Poznikoff who leads the Canada West scoring race, Autumn MacDougall, currently in third. Though Ponzikoff and MacDougall lead the Pandas in scoring, the team boasts a variety of offensive threats including Kennedy Ganser, Amy Boucher, and Hannah Olenyk. As fifth years, both Boucher and Olenyk will be looking to leave their mark on the Pandas program.
This weekend’s match up looks to be the marquee series in Canada West women’s hockey. If the Pandas manage to sweep the Thunderbirds, they put the rest of the Canada West conference on notice and build off their earlier sweep of the Manitoba Bisons. While the Pandas are always in the mix, they can definitely separate themselves from the rest of the pack and earn a little breathing room with a strong series in Vancouver.