Despite being only the second weekend of January, this weekend’s home-and-home series between the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s hockey team and the University of Calgary Dinos could be argued as the most important series of the season for both teams.
Heading into the weekend, the Horns (6-9-3) and Dinos (7-10-1) are tied for the final playoff spot with 15 points and the teams are also tied in the first tie-breaker, head-to-head record. The Dinos won the first game between the two teams this season, 2-1, before the Horns returned the favor with a 5-2 win in Lethbridge.
The weekend series kicks off Friday in Lethbridge at Nicholas Sheran Arena (puck drops at 7 p.m.), with the series concluding in Calgary at Father David Bauer Saturday night at 6 p.m. Friday night’s game will also be streamed on Canada West TV.
The Horns opened the second half with a road split last weekend in Regina, while the Dinos dropped a pair of games to the conference leading UBC Thunderbirds.
Very little separates the two teams statistically; the Horns have scored 37 goals to the Dinos 30, while the Dinos are the better of the two defensively, allowing 44 goals compared to the Horns' 51.
Individually, the Horns are led by Kirsten Reeves and Sadia Lenstra, who are the only Pronghorns to crack the conference’s top 20 scoring list with 10 and nine points respectively. Janelle Parent is the lone Dino to make the list with eight goals and six assists for 14 points.
Between the pipes, Pronghorn Crystal Patterson and Dino Amanda Tapp have played the bulk of the games for their respective teams. In 13 games, Patterson sports a 2.26 goals against average, while in 12 appearances, Tapp has accumulated a 2.74 goals against average, but has accounted for three of the seven Dinos wins.
On the men's side, the Horns put an end to their 10-game losing streak last Saturday night, but face a daunting task this weekend in a home-and-home series with the country’s top ranked Calgary Dinos.
The weekend set kicks off Friday night in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena with the back half going Saturday night in Lethbridge at Nicholas Sheran Arena. Puck drop for both games is set for 7 p.m. and Saturday night’s game will be steamed live on Canada West TV.
Coming off a month long break, the Pronghorns (2-15-1) earned a weekend split with the visiting Regina Cougars last weekend. In the Horns' win, newcomer Alex Sirard got his first start of the season in goal and was exceptional, turning aside 40 of the 41 shots he faced.
Despite not seeing conference action last weekend, the Dinos played a non-conference home-and-home series with their crosstown rival Mount Royal Cougars. After winning the opening game, the Dinos were beaten 6-3 by the Cougars on home ice.
Statistically this weekend’s matchup would be considered a mismatch. The Dinos are near the top of the conference in every category, while the Horns are at the opposite end of the spectrum. The Horns are the lowest scoring team in the conference with 31 goals and have allowed a conference high 91 goals against.
Without anyone in the top 20 in Canada West scoring, the Horns are led by freshman Ryon Moser with four goals and eight assists, while Cass Mappin and Brock Hirsche share the team lead in goals with five each.
The Dinos are the stingiest team in the conference, allowing only 25 goals against in 16 games, and have the top two ranked goaltenders in Jacob DeSerres and Kris Lazaruk. DeSerres sports a 1.50 goals-against-average to lead the league. Offensively, the Dinos are tied for the conference lead with the Alberta Golden Bears with 76 goals scored and freshman Chris Collins is second in the league in scoring with 13 goals and 11 assists.