Thursday, September 30, 2010

Canada West Hockey Preview

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS
CW Rank: #1
2009-10 CW Record: 23-4-1
2010 CW Playoffs: 4-1, 1st
2010 CIS Tournament: 2-1, 2nd
Last CW Title: 2010
Last CIS Title: 2008

Key returnees: Chad Klassen, Derek Ryan, Kyle Fecho, Real Cyr
Key additions: Johnny Lazo, Alex Rodgers, Ben Lindemulder, Jesse Craige
Key departures: Travis Yonkman, Tyler Metcalfe, Jesse Gimblett, Ian McDonald, Dale Mahovsky, Brian Woolger

EDMONTON - When the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team takes to the Clare Drake ice this weekend for their 75th Canada West season, they will do so with 14 different faces in the line-up from the team that collected silver in last season’s CIS championship game.

Two-thirds of Alberta’s top two scoring lines remain intact as reigning Canada West MVP Chad Klassen is back for his fifth-year, along with center Derek Ryan. Newly minted team captain Eric Hunter will skate with CIS All-Rookie team member Sean Ringrose, giving the Bears plenty of pop in their top two.

Sixth-year head coach Eric Thurston brought in 11 WHL players as part of his biggest recruiting class ever, and from that group, expect Johnny Lazo and Alex Rodgers to fill in on top two lines. Linden Rowat and Kurtis Mucha will look to supplant third-year Real Cyr in the Alberta crease, and new defencemen Ben Lindemulder, Jesse Craige, Jarrett Toll and Drew Nichol round out the swelling defence corps.

Two-time defending Canada West defenceman of the year Kyle Fecho anchors the group, and is closely followed by veteran Jason Fransoo, and sophomores Ian Barteaux, Colin Joe. All four can add offence, and effectively move the puck from Alberta’s zone.
www.bears.ualberta.ca


UBC THUNDERBIRDS
CW Rank: #7
2009-10 record: 8-19-1
2010 CW Playoffs: N/A
2010 CIS University Cup: N/A
Last CW title: 1971
Last CIS title: N/A

Key returnees: Matthew Schneider, Tyler Ruel, Justin McCrae
Key additions: Nolan Toigo, Mike McGurk
Key departures: Fran├žois Thuot, Jeff Lynch

VANCOUVER - Two top recruits will patrol the blue line. Nolan Toigo, who joins the Blue and Gold fresh from the Edmonton Oilers’ preseason roster where he was a late cut and OHL veteran, Mike McGurk, are both significant additions to a UBC defensive corps that brings back their top four.

Up front, the T-Birds will rely on many returning players. In particular, the Thunderbirds will look to the men down the middle to carry the load. First and foremost of those is fifth-year center and last year’s team MVP, Matthew Schneider. The Thunderbirds’ captain finished 2009-10 with 18 points in 28 games, and will play a key role this year.

The ’Birds are also very confident in centre Justin McCrae, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, who had nine goals in 22 games last year. On the wing, the ‘Birds hope for another big year from Tyler Ruel, who led the Blue and Gold with nine goals and 21 points in 26 games last season.

In net, the ‘Birds were dealt a surprise when would-be starting goaltender Torrie Jung, who had committed to UBC, decided to play pro just before the pre-season. Sophomore Jordan White, who saw a lot of action as a rookie last season, appears to be the No. 1 goalie.
www.gothunderbirds.ca


CALGARY DINOS

CW Rank: #5
2009-10 CW Record: 13-9-6, 4th
2010 CW Playoff Record: 0-2, t-3rd
2010 CIS University Cup: N/A
Last CW Title: 1996
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Reid Jorgensen, Brock Nixon, Torrie Wheat
Key additions: Jevon Desautels, Kris Lazaruk, Colton Grant, Kodie Curran
Key departures: Brett O’Malley, Aaron Richards

CALGARY –Reid Jorgensen enters his fourth year for Calgary and leads the attack up front for the Dinos. Jorgensen ranked fourth in Canada West in assists last season with 23. Torrie Wheat enters his fifth year with the Dinos, and adds a strong and steady level of play to the Dinos’ front line. Sixth in the conference in goals at 13, the Nanaimo, B.C. native will be counted on both for his calming influence on the ice as well as his penchant for finding the back of the net.

Manitobans Brock Nixon and Teegan Moore return for their third and fourth years, respectively, while forward Jevon Desautels returns to the lineup after a medical red-shirt season in 2009-10.

Dustin Butler remains the de-facto starter in net for the Dinos after a solid 12-win campaign last season, but will be pushed by rookie Kris Lazaruk and veteran Nathan Deobald. The questions for the Dinos are perhaps on defence, where there are only two players in their third year or more, that being Jerrid Sauer and Joel Eisenkirch.
www.godinos.com


LETHBRIDGE PRONGHORNS
CW Rank: #4
2009-10 CW Record: 13-11-4, 5th
2010 CW Playoff Record: N/A
2010 CIS University Cup: N/A
Last CW Title: 1994
Last CIS Title: 1994

Key returnees: Scott Bowles, Dustin Moore, Ryan Pottruff, Andrew Courtney, Brain Matte
Key additions: Taylor Gal, Dan Iwanski, Ryan Letts, Tyler Melancon, Nick Hotson
Key departures: Adam Chorneyko, Jason Roberts, Logan Lavorato

LETHBRIDGE - With only four players gone from last season, the Horns have a good nucleus that is poised for a return to the post-season, but will have to make sure they learned their lesson and not dig themselves an early season hole again. The graduations of Jason Roberts and Logan Lavorato leaves a void in the leadership department and the departure of Canada West rookie of the year Adam Chorneyko to the pro ranks hurts the Horns offensive punch.

Second Team All-Star goaltender Scott Bowles is returning for his fourth season. Fellow Second-Teamer Ryan Pottruff and Andrew Marshall will anchor the blue line.

Up front the Horns will be deep and led by Captain Dustin Moore, who had a breakout season last year, finishing third in conference scoring and earning a First Team All-Star nod. After opening the last season on a tear, leading the conference in goals before a season-ending injury, Andrew Courtney returns for his final season. Second half additions Brian Matte and Winston Daychief will look to build on their productive half seasons after joining the team at Christmas.
www.uleth.ca/horns


MANITOBA BISONS
2010 CW Rank: #2
2009-10 CW Record: 16-10-2, 3rd
2010 CW Playoff Record: 3-3, 2nd
2010 CIS University Cup: 1-1, t-3rd
Last CW Title: 1965
Last CIS Title: 1965

Key returnees: Steve Christie, Mike Hellyer, Jared Walker, Ian Duval, Chad Erb, Blair Macaulay, Tyler Dittmer, Brandon Lockerby
Key additions: Dane Crowley, Myles Rumsey, Jeremy Schappert, Del Cowan
Key departures: Stephane Lenoski, Calin Wild, Rick Wood, David Brown, Kip Workman

WINNIPEG – The Bisons have 18 returning players, led by 2009-10 CIS Goaltender of the Year Steve Christie. Christie returns for his fifth and final season after being the second ranked goalie in the conference and starting in all six playoff games and 27 of the 28 conference games.

Along with Christie, the Bisons are led the team’s top scorer Mike Hellyer (11g, 13a), Jared Walker (5g, 13a), Ian Duval (5g, 13a), Blair Macaulay (8g, 9a), Tyler Dittmer (8g, 6a). On the blueline, Chad Erb (3a), Brandon Lockerby (2g, 12a) and Travis Mealy (4g, 8a) all come back for another chance to make a deep run into the post-season.

Head coach Mike Sirant, in his 15th season with Manitoba, has had another successful recruiting class and has filled the departure on the blueline with several players with WHL experience. Defenceman Dane Crowley played five years in the WHL and last played with the AHL’s Houston Aeros and East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Phoenix RoadRunners in the 2008-09 season. He was also selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in round six (168th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Myles Rumsey played for the Bisons for two seasons (2007-08, 2008-09) and returns after a one year absence. He was selected as Bisons Top Defenseman Award winner in 2008-09. Jeremy Schappert finished the 2009-10 season on the blueline with the Seattle Thunderbirds after five WHL seasons. Plus, forward Del Cowan comes to the Bisons after playing for the 2009-10 WHL championship team the Calgary Hitmen in his third WHL campaign.
www.gobisons.ca


REGINA COUGARS
CW Rank: #6
2009-10 CW Record: 9-17-2, 6th
2010 CW Playoff Record: N/A
2010 CIS University Cup: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Craig Cuthbert, Dillon Johnstone, Adam Ward, Ryan Bender
Key additions: Brett Leffler, Matt Strueby, Terrance DeLaronde
Key departures: Tanner Schultz, Mark Nelson, Dylan Chapman, Brant Hilton

REGINA - With the University of Regina’s men’s hockey team moving into their new digs at The Co-Operators Centre, it’s only fitting that the Cougars will bring an overhauled roster into the 2010-11 season.

Sixth-year head coach Blaine Sautner brought in a 10-player recruiting class to help bolster the team. Leading the incoming players are forwards Brett Leffler and Matt Strueby, both of whom toiled for the Regina Pats before making the jump to the CIS level. Terrance DeLaronde, who last played for the University of Manitoba, had a strong preseason and also looks to make an impact for the Cougars.

Craig Cuthbert and Dillon Johnstone are the team’s top returning forwards, while Ryan Bender, Cody Thoring and Russ Nielsen are all expected to again be solid on the blue line for the Cougars. In net, fifth-year tender Adam Ward should be the starter with Shayne Barrie and rookie A.J. Whiffen battling for the backup job.
www.reginacougars.com


SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES
CW Rank: #3
2009-10 regular season record: 16-8-4, 2nd
2010 CW Playoffs: 1-3, t-4th
2010 CIS University Cup: N/A
Last CW Title: 2007
Last CIS Title: 1983

Key returnees: Chris Durand, Kyle Ross, Brennan Bosch, Jesse Zetariuk
Key additions: Ryan Funk, Craig McCallum, Ryan Holfeld
Key departures: Jeff Harvey, Chad Greenan, Evan Schafer

SASKATOON - Although the Huskies 2010-11 roster bolsters 20 returning players, just four are in their fourth or fifth year of eligibility. Head coach Dave Adolph, who enters his 18th year at the helm, spent the off-season looking for recruits to compliment top-skilled players.

Fourth-year forward Kyle Ross, who after transferring from the University of Regina Cougars last year to enter the College of Law, led the Huskies with 22 assists. Second-year Brennan Bosch and third-year Chris Durand will also be looked at for big things – both finished among the top scorers in the conference and their team.

Defensively, returners Matt Swaby Jesse Zetariuk and Zach Sim will be asked to set up into a larger role after the departure of Canada West All-Star Chad Greenan who led Huskie defenceman with 20 points in 2009-10.

David Reekie played in 13 games as a rookie in net for the Huskies tallying a 2.59 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. He will be joined by former Medicine Hat Tiger Ryan Holfeld between the pipes. The team lost three-time Adam Kryzcka Award winner Jeff Harvey to graduation.
www.huskies.usask.ca


About Canada West Universities Athletic Association
Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year since 1997-98. Comprised of 14 schools, from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada West produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games.

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