Following a split against the Calgary Dinos last weekend, the U Sports No. 5 University of Alberta Golden Bears will host the Manitoba Bisons this weekend at Clare Drake Arena.
Game one will start at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night, with the rubber match scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Fans in attendance at this weekend’s games can get all their team news, including stats, rosters, game lineups and standings at uab.ca/gameday.
Alberta’s 7-3-0 record slots them second overall in Canada West, just a single point behind the 7-2-1 Saskatchewan Huskies. Manitoba, meanwhile, comes in with a 5-5-0 record and the fifth overall position.
The Golden Bears enter their first tilt with the Bisons as arguably the hottest team in Canada West, having won six of their past seven games.
Surging the Bears into the top echelon of teams has been their patented high-pressure offence, resulting in 39 goals scored and the top three individual scorers in the conference.
Fourth-year forward Jamie Crooks leads all conference scorers with eight goals and 14 points through 10 games. Sophomore Jayden Hart sits directly behind Crooks with eight goals and 12 points of his own, while rookie standout Luke Philp has also tallied 12 points in 10 games.
Philp isn’t the only freshman having an impact, as Tyson Baillie is also over point-per-game pace with 11 points, while Trevor Cox (7 pts, 28 shots), and defenceman Ryan Rehill (4 assists, 15 shots) are contributing in big roles this season.
As for Manitoba, the ‘Herd’ have been the epitome of a middle-of-the-pack team thus far in 2016, ranking fourth in goals scored (32), fifth in goals allowed (31), and fifth in goal differential (+1). The Bisons come to Edmonton having split each of their past three series’, playing UBC, Calgary, and Lethbridge.
While the 5-5-0 record seems apt for the Bisons, they ice three of the deadliest scorers in the conference, making every game against Manitoba a challenge. Third-year’s Shaq Merasty and Justin Augert, as well as Fourth-year and defending Dave Schriber Trophy winner Jordan DePape have scored 15 goals and combined for 31 points in 26 combined games.
Not unlike the Golden Bears, Manitoba also ices a crop of phenomenal freshman, headlined by forwards Shawn Bowles, Remi Laurencelle, Quintin Lisoway, and Brad Bowles.
Between the pipes, the advantage has to go to the home team, backboned by Luke Siemens and Brendan Burke. The duo have combined for a better save percentage (0.915 to 0.906) and goals against average (2.14 to 2.92) than the Bison pair of Byron Spriggs and Justin Paulic.
These two clubs last met in January, with Manitoba coming away with 7-4 and 3-2 wins in Winnipeg, en route to winning three of four matches with Alberta last season. Despite losing three of four in 2015/16, Alberta does own an 8-4 record over Manitoba over the past three seasons.