With 24 games in the books and 33 points earned, the No.6 ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team will look to cement their playoff positioning over their final four conference games, beginning this Friday with a two-game series against the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Fans in attendance can get all their team news, including stats, rosters, game lineups and standings at uab.ca/gameday.
The Golden Bears, fresh off a sweep over the No.9 ranked Mount Royal Cougars, currently occupy second place in the Canada West standings, five back of the conference leading Saskatchewan Huskies. The top teams after the conference season receive a first round ‘bye’, as well as home ice in the conference semi-final series.
Alberta will be hard pressed to catch Saskatchewan down the stretch, but with Mount Royal only points behind the Bears, and the Calgary Dinos only four points back, the Golden Bears will need to pick up as many points as possible over the two final weekends. The Cougars and Dinos play each other this weekend in a home-and-home in Calgary, and MRU will end the season at home against seventh place UBC. The Dinos, meanwhile, will conclude their conference season on the road against eighth place Regina.
Following Alberta’s final conference home series against Lethbridge, the Bears will end the conference season on the road against the Manitoba Bisons. The Bisons and Horns are currently fighting each other for the fifth and sixth positions in the standings, as only the top six teams advance to the post season. Manitoba is currently ahead of Lethbridge by three points, but faces the Huskies this weekend in Saskatoon. The Horns’ meanwhile, will face second place Alberta this weekend, on the road, and then end at home to the Saskatchewan Huskies.
The Golden Bears have won six of their eight games in the 2017 calendar year so far, with the only losses coming against UBC (3-2 on January 7 at home) and Calgary (3-0 on January 21 at home), but the Bears have also split with Lethbridge earlier this season. The two teams met in Southern Alberta in November where the Evergreen and Gold lost 3-2 on Friday night before responding with a 5-0 win on the Saturday night.
Staking the Bears to the shutout win that weekend was rookie goalie Brendan Burke. The freshman puckstopper, who was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, leads Canada West in goals against average (1.73) and save percentage (.932), while also sporting a 7-3 record with two shutouts in 12 games played. He was the goalie of record during Alberta’s sweep over MRU as well.
Military Appreciation Night
Friday night’s tilt is ATB Military Appreciation Night at Clare Drake Arena. John Windwick, Vice President of Community Initiatives for ATB, will drop the ceremonial pre-game puck, along with a member from the Namao Canadian Forces Base in Edmonton. In addition, Golden Bears hockey invited 500 members of the CFB Edmonton to attend the game as thank you for their continued service.
On Saturday night, two Golden Bears will take their final conference game twirls around Clare Drake Arena this weekend as both Rhett Rachinski and Brennan Yadlowski are in their fifth and final seasons of eligibility. Both student-athletes wear letters on their sweaters this season, with Yadlowski serving as team captain, and both have lifted the University Cup trophy twice in their careers.