Coming off an impressive season-opening sweep of the Mount Royal Cougars last weekend, the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team will aim to keep their undefeated streak alive, as they host the Manitoba Bisons this weekend at Clare Drake Arena.
The series-opener is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start time on Friday night, while the rematch will get underway at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Both games will also be streamed live on Canada West TV.
Alberta scored an impressive 12 goals against the Cougars in their two-game sweep last weekend, including seven in their home-opener on Friday. Perhaps more impressive than scoring 12 goals in two games was the fact that the Bears had nine different goal scorers, including seven different players finding the scoresheet on Friday.
Tanner Clarkson, Jamie Crooks and Cole Sanford were the only Bears to score more than once against MRU, with seven other players recording multiple points in the pair of wins.
And while every Bears line was contributing this past weekend, there was still a pair of sophomore forwards who stood out with their efforts. Second-years Trevor Cox and Luke Philp combined for 10 assists, including a conference-leading six by Philp. The former Red Deer Rebel was also named the UAlberta Athlete of the Week and the Canada West Third Star of the Week for his outstanding opening weekend.
Following Friday night’s win, the Golden Bears improved to 61-18-3 all-time in conference openers and an impressive 34-6 all-time at home.
Manitoba, however, wasn’t able to equal Alberta’s result, splitting their opening weekend series against UBC. UBC opened their 2017-18 Canada West campaign with an impressive 6-4 win over the Bisons, with the Bisons responding with a 3-2 win the next night in Winnipeg.
The Bisons are coming off a 14-12-2 conference record a year ago, but have been picked by many as a team to watch out for in a tight Canada West conference. 2016-17 marked the 10th consecutive post-season appearance for the Bisons, a streak that started in 2007-2008. However, Manitoba is still looking for their first-ever Canada West title, and are coming off a loss to the Mount Royal Cougars in last year’s conference quarter-final.
Built similarly to the Bears, Manitoba brings an impressive crop of skilled forwards to Edmonton this weekend, including team captain Brett Stovin, former Edmonton Oil King Michael St. Croix, and sophomore Quintin Lisoway. The trio combined for 7 points last weekend, with Stovin and Lisoway coming off impressive 2016-17 seasons. St. Croix, meanwhile, is in his first year with the Bisons after spending a season as a red shirt.
The Manitoba Bisons are one of the few teams who have had some success over the Bears over the past couple seasons. Alberta and Manitoba have split the last eight meetings since 2015-16, with the Bisons winning three of their four games in 2015-16, and the Bears doing the same last season.