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Canada West semifinals preview

 

Last weekend the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and University of Calgary Dinos booked their tickets to the next round of the Canada West playoffs. Waiting in the wings however are the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and University of Alberta Golden Bears. The matchups for the weekend see the Thunderbirds travel back to Alberta to take on the Golden Bears while the Dinos travel east to take on the Huskies. With only four teams remaining, let’s take a look at the Canada West semifinal draw for the weekend.

For Canada West men’s hockey playoffs coverage, visit CanadaWest.org

UBC Thunderbirds at U of A Golden Bears 

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  • Game 1: Friday, February 21 – 7 p.m. MT
  • Game 2: Saturday, February 22 – 7 p.m. MT
  • *Game 3: Sunday, February 23 – 7 p.m. MT

Regular season meetings:

  • Sept. 27 @ UBC: 4-3 Golden Bears win
  • Sept. 28 @ UBC: 5-0 Golden Bears win
  • Nov. 29 @ UofA: 5-3 Golden Bears win
  • Nov. 30 @ UofA: 5-1 Golden Bears win

Top Golden Bears WHL Alumni: Grayson Pawlenchuk – 35 points (18G-17A) in 28 games.

Top Thunderbirds WHL Alumni: Tyler Sandhu – 23 points (12G-11A) in 28 games.

Golden Bears Recap: The UofA Golden Bears have continued their dominance in Canada West with another impressive season. This year the Golden Bears finished as the first seed for the second time in three seasons, just edging out the Huskies. Leading the way offensively for UofA was second-year forward Grayson Pawlenchuk. The former Red Deer Rebels captain improved his offensive output this season, finishing the regular season with 35 points (18G-17A) in 28 games.

The addition of former Saskatoon Blades defenceman Dawson Davidson has had a big impact on the Golden Bears’ offensive game as well. The Mooseomin, Sask. product finished his first U SPORTS campaign with 26 points (4G-22A), leading Canada West in defensive scoring and leading Canada West in assists (22).

Thunderbirds Recap: Coming off an impressive weekend series victory over the Mount Royal University Cougars, the Thunderbirds proved they are a force to be reckoned with. One of the many strengths for UBC in the quarter-finals was the team’s balanced scoring depth. Former Edmonton Oil Kings forward Quinn Benjafield and former Portland Winterhawks forward Matt Revel led the way for the team with four points each over the three-game series.

One area to watch for UBC leading into the weekend series will be the performance of former Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Rylan Toth. The goaltender won a WHL Championship in 2017 with Seattle and is no stranger to playing in big games. Look for the 23-year-old to stand tall this weekend with the challenge at hand.

WHL Alumni on the Golden Bears:

Tyson Baillie (Kelowna Rockets), Matt Berlin (Kootenay ICE), Brendan Burke (Calgary Hitmen), Chad Butcher (Medicine Hat Tigers), Ben Carroll (Edmonton Oil Kings), Trevor Cox (Vancouver Giants), Taylor Cooper (Regina Pats), Dawson Davidson (Saskatoon Blades), Jared Freadrich (Portland Winterhawks), Dalton Hamaliuk (Moose Jaw Warriors), Ryan Jevne (Medicine Hat Tigers), Clayton Kirichenko (Medicine Hat Tigers), Joel Lakusta (Prince George Cougars), Sawyer Lange (Prince Albert Raiders), Cole Linaker (Kelowna Rockets), Curtis Miske (Prince Albert Raiders), Lucas Nickles (Tri-City Americans), Steven Owre (Medicine Hat Tigers), Josh Paterson (Portland Winterhawks), Grayson Pawlenchuk (Red Deer Rebels), Noah Philp (Seattle Thunderbirds), Ryan Rehill (Kamloops Blazers), Cole Sanford (Regina Pats), Luc Smith (Spokane Chiefs), Tyler Soy (Victoria Royals), Nolan Volcan (Seattle Thunderbirds)

WHL Alumni on the Thunderbirds: 

Austin Adamson (Swift Current Broncos), Kyle Becker (Medicine Hat Tigers), Quinn Benjafield (Edmonton Oil Kings), Anthony Bishop (Tri-City Americans), Joe Carvalho (Prince George Cougars), Brett Clayton (Regina Pats), Patrick Dea (Tri-City Americans), Shaun Dosanjh (Portland Winterhawks), Tanner Faith (Moose Jaw Warriors),  Austin Glover (Red Deer Rebels), Maxwell James (Tri-City Americans), Colton Kehler (Edmonton Oil Kings), Jake Kryski (Calgary Hitmen), Dryden Michaud (Saskatoon Blades), Carter Popoff (Vancouver Giants), Ryan Pouliot (Swift Current Broncos),  Matt Revel (Portland Winterhawks), Tyler Sandhu (Tri-City Americans), Jonathan Smart (Kootenay ICE), Jerret Smith (Seattle Thunderbirds), Rylan Toth (Seattle Thunderbirds), Jarret Tyszka (Seattle Thunderbirds), Austin Vetterl (Kootenay ICE)

University of Calgary at University of Saskatchewan

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  • Game 1: Friday, February 21 – 6 p.m. MT
  • Game 2: Saturday, February 22 – 6 p.m. MT
  • *Game 3: Sunday, February 23 – 6 p.m. MT

Regular Season meetings:

  • Oct. 25 @ UofS: 3-2 Huskies win
  • Oct. 26 @ UofS: 3-2 Dinos win
  • Jan. 17 @ UofC: 4-0 Huskies win
  • Jan. 18 @ UofC: 3-0 Huskies win

Top Huskies WHL Alumni: Jared Dmytriw – 28 points (10G-18A) in 28 games.

Top Dinos WHL Alumni: Matt Alfaro – 36 points (15G-21A) in 27 games.

Huskies Recap: After finishing first last year in Canada West, the Huskies fell just short of the top spot this season. The team however has not taken any steps back with former Vancouver Giants captain Jared Dmytriw leading the way. This season, the U SPORTS rookie finished tied for fourth in Canada West scoring with 28 points (10G-18A). Dmytriw also finished tied for first in both game-winning goals with four and short-handed markers with two. Former Everett Silvertips forward Carson Stadnyk led the Huskies with 13 goals on the season. Stadnyk finished the season with 21 points (13G-8A).

The Huskies were incredibly efficient on the penalty kill this season, leading Canada West with an 86.8 per cent rating. UofS will have to keep their guard up as their opponent, the Dinos, ranked fifth on the powerplay, converting 18.4 per cent of power-play opportunities.

Dinos Recap – The Dinos will look to continue their strong play heading into their second round series after consecutive wins over the Manitoba Bisons. Leading the way for UofC in the quarter-finals was former Swift Current Broncos forward Coda Gordon. The 25-year-old notched five points (2G-3A) in the Dinos weekend sweep over the Bisons. Look for Gordon to be an impact in the second round as well as aiming to get his teammates involved.

Also aiming to leave his mark will be Matt Alfaro who led the Canada West in regular season scoring with 36 points (15G-21A). The former Lethbridge Hurricanes forward will look to be a key piece for the Dinos as they look to advance to the Canada West Finals.

WHL Alumni on the Huskies: 

Gordie Ballhorn (Kelowna Rockets), Kohl Bauml (Everett Silvertips), Levi Cable (Kootenay ICE), Travis Child (Edmonton Oil Kings), Shane Collins (Prince George Cougars), Jared Dmytriw (Vancouver Giants), Jeff Faith (Kamloops Blazers), Evan Fiala (Saskatoon Blades), Carter Folk (Victoria Royals), Colby Harmsworth (Calgary Hitmen), Declan Hobbs (Spokane Chiefs), Andrew Johnson (Swift Current Broncos), Wyatt Johnson (Spokane Chiefs), Taran Kozun (Seattle Thunderbirds),  Tanner Lishchynsky (Kootenay ICE), Logan McVeigh (Kamloops Blazers), Donavan Neuls (Seattle Thunderbirds), Sam Ruopp (Prince George Cougars), Collin Shirley (Kamloops Blazers), Carson Stadnyk (Everett Silvertips), Jordan Tkatch (Prince Albert Raiders)

WHL Alumni on the Dinos: 

Matt Alfaro (Lethbridge Hurricanes),Graham Black (Swift Current Broncos), Brendan DeJong (Portland Winterhawks), Kaden Elder (Calgary Hitmen), Logan Fisher (Victoria Royals), Ryan Gagnon (Victoria Royals), Coda Gordon (Swift Current Broncos), Ryan Graham (Swift Current Broncos), Luke Harrison (Prince George Cougars), Dallas Hines (Vancouver Giants), Jordan Henderson (Medicine Hat Tigers), Sahvan Kharia (Everett Silvertips), Brodan Salmond (Moose Jaw Warriors), James Shearer (Brandon Wheat Kings), Tim Vanstone (Prince Albert Raiders), Lane Zablocki (Kelowna Rockets)

 

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