Since 1997, only two teams have been able to claim the Canada West men’s hockey title.
That streak will continue in 2017 as the University of Saskatchewan takes on the University of Alberta in a best of three starting Friday, March 3 at Rutherford Rink.
The top-ranked Huskies claimed the home-ice advantage with a 21-5-2 record, the Golden Bears were second at 18-8-2. The three wins that separate them, three Saskatchewan victories during four regular season meetings.
“The programs have mirrored each other for the whole time I have been involved,” said Huskies head coach Dave Adolph, who has coached the team since the 1993-94 season. “It’s always us and the Bears, we have locked horns a lot.”
An underlying part of the Canada West final is that both teams have already earned a berth at the national championship tournament in Fredericton, NB.
“Our conference championship is pretty important to not only our team but our school.”
Home ice may prove to be important, something the Huskies will look to take advantage of. Saskatchewan was 10-2 at Rutherford Rink in 2016-17.
To get to the finals, the Huskies had to battle their way to a 2-0 series win over Mount Royal. Winning 4-3 and 3-2, the Huskies were proud of their ability to grind it out and keep their hopes of a national title alive.
Jordon Cooke showed why he is the reigning U Sports (formerly CIS) goaltender of the year. The Huskies were outshot 72-47 in the series with Cooke having to come up big on several occasions, including a late breakaway in the deciding game.
“Our motto is ‘never say die’,” said leading scorer Logan McVeigh, who scored the series-winning goal in Saturday. “It’s big to get to nationals but to win at Canada West against U of A would be huge and we hope to win again this year.”
Puck drop in Friday’s game is 7:00 p.m at Rutherford Rink.
* With files from JT Marshall