Looking to maintain both their spot in the top half of Canada West, as well as their long conference win streak over this week’s opponent, the 5-3-0 Alberta Golden Bears host the 2-5-1 Regina Cougars this weekend at Clare Drake Arena.
Both Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m., with each contest also available live on Canada West TV.
Alberta’s five conference wins and 11 points through eight games puts them third in the conference standings, one point behind the 5-2-1 Calgary Dinos, and four points behind the 7-1-0 Saskatchewan Huskies. Regina comes off the conference ‘bye’ week with only five points in eight games, one point ahead of Lethbridge for the sixth seed, and final playoff spot.
Each program is heading in opposite trajectories entering their weekend series. Alberta has won four of their last five, including a 4-1 win over UBC in their last game. Regina has lost four of six, including a series sweep at the hands of Saskatchewan two weeks ago.
Dominance over Regina
Alberta has total control of Regina in Canada West play, owning a pair of long winning streaks over the Cougars entering this weekend.
In conference play, the Bears have won 39 straight against Regina, a streak dating back to January 31st, 2009. Including non-conference and playoffs, that streak reaches 45 straight wins for Alberta.
At Clare Drake Arena, Alberta’s dominance stretches even further. With two home wins last season, Alberta has won 44 consecutive home conference games. The last regular season win for Regina at Clare Drake Arena came on February 3, 1996 (6-4).
Despite previous dominant success at home, the 2018/19 Golden Bears haven’t had the same level of success. Alberta went a perfect 18-0 at home last season (14-0 conference, 4-0 playoffs). This season, the Bears own a 3-2 record, and are still looking for their first home sweep.
Elite offensive weapons
While the Bears own no shortage of point-producers, Regina’s offence has been much more of a score-by-committee approach.
The Golden Bears have two players inside the top 10 in the conference scoring race, led by fifth-year Riley Kieser, who is tied for the scoring title with 10 points.
The Cougars have been led by Zak Zborosky, who sits 14th with seven points in six games. He is also the only Cougar in the top 15 in individual scoring.
Special teams showcase
Similar to their weekend series against UBC two weeks ago, this weekend represents a battle of two of the premiere special team units in Canada West.
Alberta owns the second-ranked powerplay (20.5%), and the fourth-best PK (86.7%), while Regina is second on the PK (87.9%) as well as third on the powerplay (17.9 %.)