CANADA WEST REPORT
Monday, February 06, 2006
The Canada West Hockey playoff picture has become clearer following play on the weekend of Friday-Saturday, February 3rd and 4th. A little fine-tuning over the final two week’s of conference play will bring the picture into focus before the start of the conference playoffs on the weekend of February 24th-26th.The University of Calgary Dinos eliminated the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns from the post-season with two road wins, defeating the Pronghorns 2-1 (OT) and 1-0. With the two losses, the Pronghorns have been eliminated from playoff contention for the third consecutive season. Lethbridge last played in the post-season during the 2002-03 season.
In the other two series played on the weekend, the number one ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears extended their winning streak to five games with 8-1 and 4-1 wins over the UBC Thunderbirds at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton, while the University of Saskatchewan Huskies took three of four points from the University of Manitoba Bisons with a 4-4 OT tie and 4-1 win at Winnipeg.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have clinched first place in the Mountain and Great Plains Divisions, respectively, but the race for second place in each division remains hotly contested.
In the Great Plains Division, Manitoba holds a three point lead over the University of Regina Cougars, who return to action this week following a bye last week. In the Mountain Division, Calgary holds a similar three point lead over third place UBC.
The final division standings could be determined this week as two crucial series are on tap for Friday-Saturday, February 10th-11th as Manitoba hosts Regina and UBC visits Calgary. With both Manitoba and Calgary holding three-point leads in their respective division, the Bisons and Dinos need only three points to secure second place. Two wins, or a win and a tie, for Manitoba and Calgary will secure home ice advantage for the two teams in the opening round of the playoffs.