Friday, February 11, 2011

Huskies game night: vs Alberta

SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Huskies (15-7-0) will play host to the Alberta Golden Bears (15-5-2) this weekend in a first place showdown at Rutherford Rink.

This weekend series has been building since shortly into the new year. The Huskies have been hot while the Bears have not and as a result, Saskatchewan has closed the gap between themselves and first place Alberta to just two points. Tonight, they'll have a chance to pull even with the Bears for top spot in Canada West.

The Huskies have been hot out of the gate in 2011 after a so-so 2010 portion of the schedule. The team is 7-1 in the new year and riding a five game winning streak into this weekend's match-up. The Bears, on the other hand, have been mediocre going 6-3-1 including a three game losing streak that allowed the Huskies to move into a position to take over first in the conference.

One reason for the Huskies dominance has been their solid team play. The play of both David Reekie and Ryan Holfeld between the pipes for the hockey dogs has been nothing short of solid. Just take a look at this quick stat pulled from the blog of Alberta student sports writer Evan Daum on the goals for/goals against thus far in 2011:

1. Saskatchewan - 30 goals for, 14 against Net: +16
2. Calgary - 30 goals for, 24 against Net: +6
3. Alberta - 29 goals for, 24 against Net: +5
4. Lethbridge - 26 goals for, 27 against Net: -1
4. Manitoba - 20 goals for, 21 against Net: -1
6. Regina - 13 goals for, 26 against Net: -13
7. UBC - 22 goals for, 38 against Net: -16

You can see that the Huskies have been far and away the best team in 2011. They have considerable momentum heading into this weekend. Add in the fact that two teams from Canada West will head to Fredericton in late March amps up this weekend's importance that much more. Earning first place and avoiding a first round playoff series with Calgary may be huge in determining who earns those coveted two births into the national tournament.

In my opinion and in others too, Saskatchewan and Calgary are the two teams with the best chance to represent Canada West out east and it would be a shame to have them meet in the first round with a birth on the line. Chances are that Calgary will finish the season in third place so it's now up to the Huskies to do their part and get to the top of the conference. They'll need a sweep this weekend to make that happen.

Games go Friday and Saturday night at Rutherford Rink with puck-drop scheduled for 7:00pm both nights. There will be no webcast this weekend as we are pre-empted by both wrestling (Friday) and Basketball (Saturday). I'll be tweeting updates from Rutherford Rink this weekend. Follow along at

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