Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/14/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
There's no place like home for the University of Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team.
The No. 7-ranked Bisons (17-7-4), who have won 10 of their 14 regular-season games at Max Bell Arena, will be looking to fire up a bit more of that home cooking in the playoffs this weekend when they host the Regina Cougars (13-12-3) in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series.
The Bisons and Cougars met last weekend in Regina where they split a pair of games.
The one loss cost Manitoba second place and a first-round bye. The Saskatchewan Huskies finished in second, one point ahead of the Bisons.
"I thought we did a really good job creating a lot of offensive-zone play but we need to finish more of our chances," said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant, whose team outshot the Cougars 59-16 in the 6-3 win on Feb. 8 and 42-27 in the 4-2 loss the next day.
"We're confident we're going to be able to do that but our focus can't just be on offence. We have to make sure we have a very strong defensive mindset in the playoffs. We also need to play a smart game against Regina and stay out of the penalty box."
Bisons forward Blair Macaulay led Manitoba in scoring and finished tied for the conference scoring lead with 35 points (12 goals and 23 assists), while linemates Ian Duval tied for fourth in Canada West scoring with 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) and Tyler Dittmer was sixth with 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists).
Both the Bisons men's and women's volleyball teams are heading out on the road with the women (12-10) heading to Edmonton to face the No. 6-ranked Alberta Pandas (15-7) and the No. 4-ranked men (14-8) in Vancouver to meet the No. 7-ranked UBC Thunderbirds (15-7).
The men lost two regular-season matches before Christmas to UBC when Manitoba was battling some injuries.
"It does give them a little advantage and hopefully a little overconfidence," said Bisons head coach Garth Pischke with a laugh. Pischke, in his 32nd season at the Bisons helm, has five players in their fifth and final seasons, including Pischke's son Dane and Chris Voth, who is back from an injury.
"This is a very veteran group. We have five guys graduating at the end of this year so we know it's do-or-die situation. We've been through this before and I think they have all the confidence in they way they've been playing. Their previous experience will help us."
The team has a better record on the road than at home this season.
"We seem to really gel as a team on the road so hopefully that holds true again this weekend," Pischke said. "I think we're playing the best volleyball that we have this year, right now."
At the University of Winnipeg, the No. 9-ranked Wesmen men's volleyball team (11-11) will also head out on the road, travelling to Langley, B.C., to meet the No. 3-ranked Trinity Western Spartans (16-6) in a best-of-three quarter-final series.
"We're playing a very experienced team in Trinity Western, they won back-to-back national championships the last couple of years so it's going to be a good weekend," said Wesmen fourth-year outside hitter Matt Stubler.
"We've had a lot of ups and downs this year but we've been able to come back from the downs and play some good volleyball. It's good to be back in the playoffs. It's been a couple of years so everything is going in the right direction right now."
Men's hockey: Manitoba vs. Regina, best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series, at Max Bell Arena, Friday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday. Games at 7 p.m.
On the road
Women's hockey: Manitoba at UBC, best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series, at Vancouver, Friday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday
Men's volleyball: Winnipeg at Trinity Western, best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series, at Langley, B.C., Thursday, Friday and (if necessary) Saturday
Men's volleyball: Manitoba at UBC, best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series, Thursday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday
Women's volleyball: Manitoba at Alberta, best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series
Wrestling: men's and women's Canada West Wrestling Championships at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Friday and Saturday.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2013 D7
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