This weekend is one of four opportunities throughout the Canada West hockey season for University of Alberta fans to see both the Golden Bears and Pandas play in the same weekend. The Mount Royal Cougars, one of two Canada West teams based in Calgary, are Alberta’s opponents this weekend. The fun all starts when the Golden Bears welcome the Cougars on Friday night at 7pm. The Pandas play host on Saturday night at 7pm.
The Golden Bears series against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The Golden Bears won both games; the first by a score of 3-2 in double overtime and the second by a score of 6-0. The Golden Bears remain one point behind the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. One of the highlights of the series against the Thunderbirds is that Luke Philp scored four goals over the weekend, including a hattrick on Saturday. First year Grayson Pawlenchuk also had two goals. A recently returned Stephane Legualt scored the overtime winner on Friday night. The Golden Bears also saw two solid performances from Zack Sawchenko over the series.
The Golden Bears now face the Mount Royal Cougars who had successful weekend against the University of Manitoba, clinching their own playoff spot. Sitting fourth in Canada West, the Cougars have four players in the Top 15 of the Canada West scoring race. This includes rookie Colton Kroeker. The Cougars are a fairly streaky team. They have two four game losing streaks but also have both a four and three game win streak this season. Having won the last four, the cycle of winning and losing may be beginning again for the Cougars. However, the Golden Bears should not discount the Cougars as they have kept the score close in each one of their losses. The Golden Bears are more than capable of walking away with four points this weekend by playing smart, disciplined hockey.
The Pandas picked up two of a possible six points in their last series with the UBC Thunderbirds. Thus putting an end to any further speculation I might make about season sweeps. The Pandas lost on Friday night to the Thunderbirds 2-0 and managed an overtime win 2-1 on Saturday afternoon. Due the way points are distributed in Canada West Women’s Hockey, the Pandas collected only two of the three possible points.
The Pandas remain in first place and welcome the Mount Royal Cougars. This series also sees the return of Pandas head coach, Howie Draper, who returns from coaching the U 18 Women’s National Team to a gold medal in Japan.
Currently in sixth place in the Canada West Conference, the Cougars will be looking to create momentum. Having lost three of the last four, the Cougars need some positive results to help their playoff hopes.
The Pandas split their first series with the Cougars in the fall. The first game they won decisively by a score of 7-0; however, they lost the second game 3-1. That means it’s literally impossible to have a season sweep (which removes the temptation for me to mention it.) Which is good because my self-control isn’t the best.
The Pandas will be hoping for different results from last weekend so that they keep control of first place. The Pandas have three of the top four players in the Canada West scoring race and Mount Royal is sixth in goals against in the conference. This seems like a match which favours the Pandas. The Pandas will be hoping to add two more regulation wins to their total. With their last four series composed of the bottom half the Canada West standings, the Pandas will have to be careful not to become overconfident.