Golden Bears Hockey
The U Sports No. 3 University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team will put their five game winning streak on the line this weekend, as they battle the Calgary Dinos in a home-and-home series.
The series opens on Friday at Clare Drake Arena with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m., before the series shifts to Calgary on Saturday.
Fans in attendance at Friday's games can get all their team news, including stats, rosters, game lineups and standings at uab.ca/gameday.
With the five straight wins under their belt, the Bears have improved to 6-2-0 on the season, and own control of the second spot in the Canada West standings. Calgary, meanwhile, enters the weekend matchup one game behind Alberta with a 5-3-0 record, and in fourth in the conference.
Alberta faced a difficult situation early in the season, opening against the defending champion Saskatchewan Huskies with nine first-year players in their lineup. While splitting the opening two series’ against U of S and UBC may not seem like a win for the perennial powerhouse, it almost seemed inevitable the Bears would go through some growing pains. Those times seem to be over, as Alberta was able to sweep the surging Mount Royal Cougars and Regina Cougars on the road in successive weeks.
Leading the Bears on their run has been a conference-best 4.125 goals per game over their first eight contests. Third-year Jamie Crooks has been the offensive catalyst this far, leading Canada West with eight goals and 13 points, earning one U of A Athlete of the Week honour, and WHL Graduate of the Month in October.
Also having massive impacts are the conference’s top two scoring rookies in Tyson Baillie and Luke Philp. Baillie leads all conference freshmen with ten points, with Philp sitting one point behind the Edmonton native. As if the first-year class for the Bears isn’t potent enough already, the Bears will welcome third-year forward, but first year Canada West player Todd Fiddler to the lineup this weekend. Fiddler most recently played for the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL, and was also two-time 40 goal scorer in the WHL.
Also aiding the Alberta resurgence is the consistent play of their net-minders. Luke Siemens, who didn’t see action in the first two weeks of the season, has solidified the crease with a 3-0 record, a 2.00 GAA and 0.935 save percentage in three starts.
Calgary has also seen strong goaltending play of late, as the duo of rookie Matt Greenfield and fifth-year Steven Stanford have combined for a 5-1 record, with a 0.932 save percentage and a sub two goals against average in seven games.
While Alberta has a conference leading +12 goal differential in 2016, the Dinos have scored just one more goal than they have allowed, making their 5-3-0 record a bit deceiving. The southern-Alberta team, however, has won three of their last four, scoring 13 times over that time.
While no Dino sits at the top of individual scoring like Crooks, they have an even offensive lineup that features six players with at least five points this season, led by Elgin Pearce’s five goals and three assists.
Alberta and Calgary met four times last season, with the Bears winning the first two in November, followed by two wins by Calgary in January.