Saskatoon (ISN) – For the first time since 1987, the Calgary Dinos and Saskatchewan Huskies will battle for the Canada West Men’s Hockey Championship in a best-of-three series in Saskatoon’s Rutherford Rink this weekend.
The matchup in the best-of-three final series begins Friday. The winner of the series will advance as the lone Canada West representative at the CIS University Cup hosted by the University of New Brunswick March 22-25.
Calgary and Saskatchewan have meet in nine Canada West playoff series including four matchups in the conference final all won by the Huskies – 1981, 1982, 1987 in Calgary and 1986 in Saskatoon. In the nine postseason meetings, Calgary knocked off Saskatchewan just twice including semifinal wins in 1989 and 2011.
Both the Huskies and Dinos took the long route to the conference final each hosting a quarter-final series before knocking off the top two ranked teams in a semifinal series on the road.
Saskatchewan swept the Lethbridge Pronghorns in the quarter-finals before upsetting the perennial Canada West finalist Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton last weekend in the semifinal. Calgary defeated the UBC Thunderbirds in the quarter-finals at home before sweeping the first-place Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg with a short handed goal by Brock Nixon in overtime in the Game 2 win.
It is the 17th straight season the Huskies have appeared in the Canada West postseason and the first time since 2008-09 in the conference final, while Calgary has been in playoffs the last three seasons and finished as the conference silver medalists in 2010-11.
Calgary won all four meetings between the two teams in the 2011-12 regular season.
The bulk of the Huskies scoring in the regular season came from the top line of Derek Hulak, Kyle Bortis and Kyle Ross, who combined for 44 goals in the 28 games. Their high-powered offence has continued in the playoffs with a combined 24 playoff points between the three. Bortis was the hero in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Golden Bears in Game 2, while Brennan Bosch scored the 4-3 overtime winner in Game 3.
Calgary’s offence throughout the regular season came from Taylor Stefishen, Nixon, Walker Wintoneak and rookie Dylan Hood. Stefishen and Wintoneak each notched 12 goals, while Nixon had 10. Nixon has continued to be an offensive spark for the Dinos with four goals including the short-handed game winner in the five playoff games.
Ryan Holfeld and David Reekie equaled time in net for the Huskies throughout the regular season and playoffs. Holfeld was in net for both overtime victories against the Golden Bears and sports a playoff-best 2.02 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.
Dustin Butler played 22 regular season games in net for the Dinos and has started all five postseason affairs for Calgary. He’s tallied a .918 save percentage and a 2.09 goals against average in the playoff games.
Game 1 puck drop is 7 p.m. Friday at Rutherford Rink. Game 2 is set for Saturday and Game 3, if necessary, is Sunday. All games start at 7 p.m. at Rutherford Rink. For tickets, call 306-966-1111 or visit huskies.usask.ca