February 25, 2011
Home ice on the line
By Eric Kerkhoven
They are perhaps the two hottest teams in Canada West, and both still have plenty to play for — setting the stage for a compelling finish to the Canada West regular season in men’s hockey.
The Calgary Dinos are undefeated in their past five games and are 9-3 in the winter semester, where they have enjoyed the lion’s share of their games at home. The Dinos have clinched a playoff spot for the second straight year under the tutelage of Mark Howell, and have the inside track at hosting a first round playoff series, something they haven’t done since 2007-08 when six teams made the postseason.
With 34 points, the Dinos sit alone in second place with two games to go and have their upcoming opponents, the Lethbridge Pronghorns, to thank for that. The Pronghorns swept the formerly-second place Saskatchewan Huskies this past weekend, leaving them stagnant at 32 points.
Calgary recently defeated Lethbridge last Wednesday night in a make-up game from earlier in January, winning 4-2 in a game of vital importance for both teams.
The most Calgary has to do in order to clinch the home playoff series is to pick up three points against the ‘Horns this weekend. This assumes that Saskatchewan sweeps the fourth place Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg and collects all four points available to them.
Should Saskatchewan lose one of their games or else pick up a single point in each, Calgary needs only one point in the standings to assure themselves the second seed. Calgary cannot clinch should they tie in the standings with Saskatchewan, as their head-to-head season record is 3-1 in favour of the Huskies.
Needless to say, in a topsy-turvy 2010-11 Canada West men’s hockey season, it is fitting that the final weekend will come down to a dog-fight for both playoff berths and general positioning. Both team’s futures will be decided by the outcome of the weekend series at Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary.
Should the Dinos finish second, they will host a best-of-three Canada West semi-final next weekend with the winner advancing to the CIS University Cup in Fredericton, N.B.
Stay tuned to goDINOS.com for the latest Dinos news.