February 21, 2013, Saskatoon, SK (ISN) – For the 17th consecutive year, the University of Saskatchewan Huskie men’s hockey team will appear in the Canada West post season.
Saskatchewan hasn’t missed the playoffs since the 1995-96 season and has missed playing in the Canada West final just three times in the 17-season span.
The postseason race starts against the Manitoba Bisons Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if needed). The winner of this weekend’s best-of-three series moves on to the conference final against either the Alberta Golden Bears or Calgary Dinos March 1-3.
Wanting to defend their Canada West title won in Rutherford Rink last season, the Huskies have a spot in the 2013 CIS PotashCorp University Cup as hosts of the tournament, March 14-17 at Credit Union Centre. Saskatchewan wants to earn their way to the tournament. The Huskies finished 2012-13 with a 19-8-1 and in second place in the conference with a bye into the semifinal series.
Manitoba flew through quarter-final competition with a sweep over the Regina Cougars winning 6-2 and 5-0. The Bisons finished just one point behind Saskatchewan in the 2012-13 standings with a 17-7-4 record.
Since 2005-06, the Huskies are 27-15-1 against the Bisons including a split between the two teams in the four regular season matchups this season. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have met nine times in Canada West playoff history with the Huskies winning eight of those series. The Bisons won the semifinal meeting in 2009-10.
Four Huskies finished in the Top 20 in conference scoring including Kyle Bortis who topped the list with 10 goals and 26 assists. Captain Brennan Bosch finished eighth with 13 goals and 14 assists, while 2011-12 leading scorer and CIS All-Canadian Derek Hulak tallied eight goals and 17 assists. Rookie Jimmy Bubnick added another 11 goals and 13 assists for Saskatchewan.
Reigning Canada West MVP Blair Macaulay, Ian Duval and Tyler Dittmer led the Bisons throughout the regular season and continued to dominate through the post season. The trio tallied eight of the Bisons’ 11 goals in the playoff series win over Regina including five from Dittmer. Duval had six assists in the series win.
Ryan Holfeld played in 27 games for Saskatchewan in the regular season tallying a 2.74 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. David Reekie, who returned from injury in the second half of the season, has appeared in three games recording one win.
Jesse Deckert led Manitoba through the regular season with a 16-9 record, a 2.19GAA and a .915 save percentage. The fifth-year played in both Bisons’ playoff wins making 61 saves.
Puck drop for the series is 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) at Rutherford Rink. For tickets call 306-966-1111 or visit huskies.usask.ca