Hockey Headlines

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 219

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, will be on the air with another live show tonight as we broadcast from The Hub Social Club on the UofM campus! Beans, TJ, and I will be sampling some of the great food and beverages that The Hub has available all night as The Hockey Show will be followed by the Oilers-Jets game on the majority of the TVs in the establishment! Come on down to The Hub Social Club tonight for some hockey talk and the Jets game!

We get you set with all the hockey stories and our spins on them. We'll talk about the Gerard Gallant firing in Florida, why it happened, why it shouldn't have happened, and where he may end up. We have a short interview with Shelly Anthis, a casting director, who needs some extras for a feature film scene being shot in Winnipeg on December 7. We'll get everyone set for the weekend set between the Manitoba Bisons women's team and the Mount Royal Cougars. And with the calendar turning to December, we'll have some good chatter on the World Junior Championship selection camp and the players named to it. There will even be a couple of shout-outs and some birthday wishes sent out, and we'll be talking about a new project starting on December 25 by one of our favorite guests! It's a heckuva show, so make sure you down to the The Hub Social Club and catch the show!

Something else that should be at the top of your list when it comes to supporting the Manitoba Bisons this weekend is the Holiday Hamper food drive! The Bisons women's hockey team is putting together a pile of hampers for the less fortunate this holiday season, and they want your help! The team is looking for non-perishable food donations or monetary donations that will go to making up baskets of food for Manitoba families!

You can bring non-perishable food items or money for a donation to the upcoming weekend series against the Mount Royal Cougars on December 2 and 3, or you can contact Bisons forward Karissa Kirkup to arrange for a pickup! Karissa can be reached at 204-851-4886 or by email at kirkupk3@myumanitoba.ca. This is an excellent cause, and it's one that TJ and I, as the voice of the Bisons, have supported already with a big donation! We'd encourage any and all people, businesses, and organizations to match our donation of $50 in non-perishable food to the Holiday Hamper drive! Thanks to all who donate, and to the Bisons women's hockey team for helping those that need a little help this holiday season!

Of course, if you're a proud owner of an iDevice or Android device and want to listen to The Hockey Show, you can easily listen to the show by downloading the UMFM app! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show!

You can also email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

It's another busy live show, so the phones will be closed as we're not in the studio! Make sure you tune up 101.5 on your FM dial, listen online at www.umfm.com, or download the UMFM app as TJ, Beans, and I run through all the hockey news, stories, and information from The Hub Social Club on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: December 1, 2016: Episode 219

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

He Only Plays Outdoors Now

At the age of 55, you'd expect Wayne Gretzky to be settled into life as a retired hockey player. I'm sure he has other interests and passions that he'd like to pursue, but it seems he's trying to add one more record to the NHL record books this season. While no team has yet to lure him out of retirement, Wayne Gretzky appears to be looking to add the record of "most outdoor games played" to his illustrious career. He's already appeared in a few, including this season's Heritage Classic in Winnipeg, and he's signed up for a couple of more to put him in the running for this unofficial record!

As stated and shown in the picture above, Wayne donned the blue-and-orange as the Edmonton Oilers' alumni squared off against the Winnipeg Jets' alumni at Investors Group Field. For Wayne, his assessment of his game following the Saturday afternoon tilt was unexpected.

"I stink," Gretzky said, laughing. "I'm really bad."

While he certainly was having a little fun with reporters, seeing Wayne Gretzky on the ice again was magical. Yes, he looked a little older, but just seeing him skate up and down the ice was like sitting in the stands of the old Winnipeg Arena watching him decimate the Jets in the 1980s.

Gretzky also took part in another Heritage Classic alumni game when he wore the Oilers' colours in 2003 when the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens met in the first Heritage Classic in NHL history. That game saw Gretzky square off against Canadiens' legend Guy Lafleur at the middle of Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, and the hosts came away with a 2-0 victory.

This wasn't Wayne's first outdoor game as an NHLer, though. In 1991, the New York Rangers met the Los Angeles Kings at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. While it was somewhat unfathomable to think hockey could be played in the Nevada desert, the Rangers and Kings made a game of it as the Kings prevailed in the preseason contest by a 5-2 score.

Gretzky was also invited to the 2012 Winter Classic alumni game when the New York Rangers met the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Wayne opted out of this game, though, as he wanted to spend the holidays with his family as opposed to traveling across the country. It would have been neat to see Wayne Gretzky playing as part of the Rangers, but that was his choice not to play.

As mentioned above, Gretzky suited up for the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg, making that three outdoor appearances for The Great One. Now it appears he'll play two more games within a week of one another as he suits up in two different leagues!

On December 31, Wayne Gretzky will return to St. Louis - where he played all of 31 regular season and playoff games - as part of their alumni team as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks' alumni as part of the 2017 Winter Classic festivities at Busch Stadium. Wayne had a decent 18 games with the Blues as he put up eight goals and 13 assists in his 18 regular season games, and then added two goals and 14 assists in 13 playoff games in 1995-96. While I'm not too concerned with his inclusion on that roster as he played games for the Blues, the next game he will appear in is mostly promotional. Ok, ENTIRELY promotional.

On January 7, 2017, Wayne Gretzky will serve as one of the two captains of the Alumni-Celebrities teams being assembled for the AHL's Three-Way Chevrolet Condorstown Outdoor Classic presented by Mission Bank. In that AHL game, the Bakersfield Condors will host the Ontario Reign as the two AHL rivals look to light up the ice on a California night. Gretzky's alumni-celebrity team will square off against another alumni-celebrity team that will be captained by Luc Robitaille.

By my count, that's five outdoor games for the NHL's all-time leading scorer. Is there anyone within two games of Gretzky at this point? I'm talking alumni or active players as well. I'm not sure anyone is close right now.

I'm happy that Wayne Gretzky is coming back to the NHL. He was a big part of this game during his playing career, and he was missed by fans after the debacle in Phoenix that involved him. Much like Dave Keon in Toronto, his absence was noticeable when it came to big events, so getting him back into some of these great events for fans is good for everyone. And while it might be weird seeing him in a Condors uniform, his work promoting hockey in California is entirely why Bakersfield and Ontario have teams.

Wayne Gretzky is good for hockey.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

TSN Misses The Story

In my storage area, I still have boxes of old hockey cards. These cards are from around the time I was in junior high - middle school for all you new-age kids - when I was collecting my favorite idols in picture format on rectangles of cardboard. Admittedly, the hockey card market was once flooded by various manufacturers - Upper Deck, Topps, O-Pee-Chee, Score, Pro Set, and more. Certain companies had special cards, and various companies partnered with larger companies for promotional sets such as those found at Tim Hortons and at McDonald's. Needless to say, there were a lot of manufacturers who got out of the business once the demand began drying up, and this is one of those stories.

The staff at TSN's BarDown site posted an article about sports cards today, so I'll throw a stick-tap out to them for bringing this to light, but the video you'll see below was actually posted to YouTube on November 16. Filmed by a pair of videographers who call themselves Detroit EXP, it seems these two explorers wander into abandoned and seemingly uninhabited buildings in Detroit. In the video, they explore an old building that once housed the Cadillac Stamping Plant.

But there's more to this story. After the video - it's nearly 20-minutes long - read on for some additional information for which apparently TSN's crew never bothered look. If you only want to see the part where they discover the cards, skip ahead to the 16-minute mark.
It's actually some pretty incredible footage that these two urban explorers filmed inside the old stamping plant. Granted, they're technically trespassing, but their footage takes you all over what was once a thriving plant filled with workers.

The problem is that this story is old news. On August 20, 2015, Daily Mail in the UK ran a story with a headline that read,
According to the report, "[m]illions of the Topps cards were packed away in dust-covered crates, with thousands more strewn over the floor of the derelict building." The pictures on the Daily Mail article show way more detail and information than the footage from Detroit EXP as well. The article states that the cards are "from all of the Major League Baseball of the time as well as hockey cards from the NHL and Ontario Hockey League and even NASCAR". Sounds like a pretty good haul for those who can back a dump truck up and sell them as a packaged lot.

But the story doesn't end there.

Four days after the Daily Mail's story was published, Patrick McNamara from Daily Detroit picked up the story and dug really deep. McNamara contacted a gentleman named George Kruk who had his own sports card and memorabilia shop in Rochester. Kruk "identified the collection as one that used to belong to Hub Hemmen".

McNamara pressed on with this new information.
Hub (short for Hubert) Hemmen had passed away 2013. Hub ran a business called Hub's Tool and Machine on 9 mile, in Warren Michigan. In the Eighties, Hub's tool and die business suffered the fate of many others in the region, and the business failed.

According to Hub's son Greg, he was a wheeler-dealer type, and he knew that as the business began to fail Hub had gotten really into sports cards. The tool and die business had faded away but the space was used to store a large amount of cards.
Now we seem to be getting somewhere with this story. Greg and his father had become estranged, and Greg didn't know a lot about the cards stored in the factory. That led McNamara to pay a visit to "Major Automotive, LLC, next door to Hub Tool and Machine" where he spoke to Reginald, the Operations Manager of the automotive shop.

"His shop was filled to the top with cards. I remember when they were cleaning it out. It took weeks to get all the cards out," Reginald told McNamara.

But, again, the story doesn't end there.

McNamara followed up on a story done by CBS Detroit where a man named John Hemmen claimed his uncle had stored the cards in a warehouse. The warehouse at the time was owned by the Ivan Doverspike Company, a company that "reconditions and remanufactures used automatic screw and spindle machines". There is video of a user named therustymitten looking at this building from the outside as far back as July 14, 2009!
Imagine being that close to a major discovery and not even knowing it! This story could have been written six years earlier had "therustymitten" simply broke into the abandoned building. There's no proof that he or she didn't break in once the camera went off, mind you, but I'm quite certain he or she did not. Otherwise, this story would have broken long before 2015.

In any case, McNamara tracked down John Hemmen and spoke with him!
John Hemmen, cousin of Greg and nephew of Hub, used to work with Hub at the machine shop, and he remembers stowing the cards in the 90s. John had moved to Florida to find work when he saw the writing on the wall for the Tool and Die business.

In the 90s John had come back to Michigan for a two-week visit, as he did nearly every year, and his uncle Hub asked him if he could help him move some stuff out of one of his warehouses to a new location. Though on vacation, John agreed to help Hub, who had been like a father figure, and taught him the Tool and Die trade.

"He felt kind of bad, so Hub gave my wife some money to go shopping, and I spent 3-4 days hauling the cards from the warehouse to the plant," said John Hemmen.
And that's the story of how the cards got to the warehouse. Of course, you're probably asking why they're still sitting there and perhaps why didn't Hub sell them before he passed on? Well, John answered that question very succinctly: "Hub suffered from dementia later in life, and he probably wasn't able to keep track of all of his assets."

So the only question left to answer is who owns the cards now that Mr. Hemmen is gone? According to the laws of the land, the building's owner owns everything inside the abandoned factory. We know Mr. Hemmen didn't own the factory, so someone else is technically the new owner of a vast amount of sports cards. Mr. McNamara also identified this person, and the factory belongs to Bill Hults! And that, readers, is the end of this mystery of the crates of sports cards in an abandoned factory in Detroit.

I'm not sure why this is the second example in a week where major news outlets are only carrying a small piece of a story. Context and background play a massive role in telling a complete story, and by only giving half the story - as seen in the Gavrilov story from the KHL - or small crumb of a story as seen above, news outlets like TSN are doing a major disservice to its readers. I want to give huge credit to Patrick McNamara for solving this non-mystery over a year ago as his sleuthing work answered all of these questions in August 2015. He's the real hero in this story.

And I want to heap shame upon TSN for not being able to use a search engine to tell the real story that happened in Detroit with these sports cards. Whoever the "BarDown Staff" was that worked on this story need a serious lesson in investigative journalism and vetting of a story. Or at least how to use Google. But I guess sensationalism news generates great story clicks when all is said and done, right?

BarDown? More like LetDown.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Kicked To The Curb

By now, you've probably heard the news that Gerard Gallant was relieved of his coaching duties by the Florida Panthers on Sunday night. As shock and reactions took over social media and the various mainstream media outlets, many people weighed in that this is the new direction that the Florida Panthers are taking after they focused the front office on analytics and statistical breakdowns. While there's nothing wrong with this approach, firing your former head coach on a road trip is tough. Firing him prior to his leaving the opposing team's rink and not providing a way back to the hotel? That's low.

For a guy who has a 96-65-25 record in two-plus seasons with the Panthers, it's hard to argue with results. Gallant had led the Panthers to franchise-bests of 47 wins and 103 points last season, was a runner-up for the Jack Adams Award last season, and signed a two-year extension in the summer to stay with the club. It appeared that Gallant was going to be given a chance to work with the new management team after posting some great numbers with the youthful Panthers.

The prevailing thought from most hockey people closer to the NHL than I am is that Gallant and management had been at odds for some time over the personnel and makeup of the Panthers. Gallant reportedly wasn't happy when Erik Gudbranson was traded to Vancouver that netted them Jared McCann who is currently with the AHL's Springfield Thunderbirds. He was reportedly unhappy with the Logan Shaw-Michael Sgarbossa deal. Gallant seems to have wanted a grittier, tougher team while management wanted a puck possession, speedier team.

I guess we know which team we'll be seeing in the future.

Look, I've been in situations where management is right even when they're wrong. I've done the same thing that Gallant did in forging my own path and speaking out where I disagreed with the philosophy. Anyone who has been in that situation knows, however, that management's decisions are normally accepted as being the path to take while those who stray are often left behind just as Gallant was. Some in the workforce have coined the term "Adapt or Die" as a way to accept this solution when one finds one's self in a rather difficult position.

According to Dale Tallon, this decision to make changes happened two games ago. "We took everything into consideration at our quarterly meeting," he said, "and as a group decided to go in a different direction."

Rowe was much more upfront, stating "that management had planned to evaluate Gallant based on the entire six-game road trip before making any decisions, but 'after we collapsed in the second period last night, it came to a head a lot quicker.'"

It's hard to blame Gallant for the 10-11-1 record the Panthers currently have. He's been without Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, and Jussi Jokinen. Aaron Ekblad got off to a horrendous start to his season, but is beginning to turn the corner. James Reimer flubbed a number of saves against the Maple Leafs and has yet to look entirely comfortable playing behind the Florida defence. While it is Gallant's job to correct the mistakes once they've been witnessed, it's hard to blame a coach who is missing three of his top-six forwards, a blue chip defenceman who looked lost on the ice, and a goaltender who turned glove saves into goals-against.

In the end, though, hockey is a results-based industry. Team president Matt Caldwell laid it out very clearly to reporters.
"We're very proud of the season we had last year, a great turnaround year, made the playoffs for first time in a while, and we made a number of great moves this offseason. We had very high expectations for our season with Gerard Gallant as our coach...

"But as the management team came together at the 20-game mark, we've been unhappy with the inconsistent performance and just think we should be playing better at this stage of the season. We decided the change is necessary to move in a different direction."
So be it. Gerard Gallant is out despite the team being just two points out of a playoff spot and having a better record at the same point as last season. GM Tom Rowe, who has coached in the AHL and in Russia, takes over behind the bench, Dale Tallon shifts back to the GM role after Rowe announced he will focus solely on coaching, and the Florida Panthers move on.

Gerard Gallant will still receive the next two years' worth of pay if he so desires it. My guess is that there will be a lot of suitors lining up for his to coach their teams, and I suspect he'll be back behind a bench by the All-Star Game if he chooses to be. Gallant is a smart guy, a good coach, and a great person - something every organization desires.

However, like the photo above, Gallant got stuck holding the bag in this situation. It's truly a cutthroat industry in professional coaching jobs. Let's only hope the next team has the courtesy to book him a flight back to the city they call home.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Rundown - Week 8

This week's edition of The Rundown had all sorts of good match-ups on the docket as the three Canada West teams ranked in the USports top-ten looked to solidify their positions while fending off the other five teams in their quest to unseat the ranked competitors. Two of those ranked teams would find them squaring off against one another, though, so we'll work through the final games in November as the eight Canada West teams jockey for position prior to the Christmas break!

CALGARY at REGINA: Both teams were looking to right their ships after posting losses in three-or-more consecutive games. Calgary desperately needed to string together a couple of wins to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot while Regina needed wins to keep pace with the four teams ahead of them, if not pass them if they faltered. It would be the Dinos, however, who got off to a good start midway through the first period as Cheyann Newman followed her own shot to the net and batted the airborne puck past Regina's Morgan Baker to put Calgary up 1-0 at 9:52. That lead would last all of 29 seconds, though, as Jaycee Magwood dangled a defender before roofing a wrist shot on Kelsey Roberts that the goalie couldn't corral, and it was a 1-1 game.

A scoreless second period gave us no answer when it came to a winner, but the third period saw Regina strike early. Bailey Braden decided to go for a skate and she carried the puck from her own end into the Calgary zone and fired a shot from what looked like a nearly impossible angle, but the puck found its way behind Roberts for the 2-1 Cougars lead just 2:24 into the final frame. Exactly eight minutes after that goal, the Cougars used a power-play and a Kylie Gavelin shot from the top of the face-off circle to make it 3-1. Calgary would not go away, though, and Sasha Vafina's wrist shot at 12:57 found room past Baker to make it a 3-2 game.

Despite furious action from the Dinos, Baker and the Cougars' defence corps held strong in the final seven minutes to preserve the one-goal lead and the victory in this game. Baker earned the win with an 18-save performance while Roberts took the loss despite making 39 saves on the night.

CALGARY at REGINA: The second-half of the double-dip was a different story. Regina got on the board early when Kylie Gavelin deposited a rebound off an Alexis Larson shot for the 1-0 lead just 3:19 into the game. The Cougars would double their lead on the power-play when Jaycee Magwood on the left wing and streaking in on Roberts where she calmly zipped a wrist shot past Roberts at 16:31.

Magwood struck again in the second period when Bailey Braden got past a defender on the right side before centering to Magwood who waited for Roberts to flinch before denting the twine behind her at 4:05. It looked like this game might get off the rails for the Dinos, but a power-play at 4:43 was the panacea needed. Megan Grenon's point shot missed the net, but the rebound came out to Chelsea Court on the backdoor and she potted the easy goal to make it 3-1 at 5:16. Regina, however, would restore the three-goal lead at 18:13 when Braden picked up the face-off win from Magwood, and she would wire home a shot from the slot to make it 4-1.

Morgan Loroff would pull the Dinos within a pair with 3:15 to play as her high shot beat Jane Kish, but the Dinos would get no closer as the Cougars picked up another three points in a 4-2 victory. Kish stopped 17 shots in the win while Roberts made 28 stops in the loss.

UBC at MOUNT ROYAL: The top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds went into Calgary for a date with the Mount Royal Cougars looking to build on their impressive ten-game win streak. The Cougars, meanwhile, were looking for the upset in the hopes of keeping pace with the Regina Cougars while fending off the Lethbridge Pronghorns. The only problem? The #1-ranked UBC Thunderbirds.

A scoreless first period led to the second period where Mathea Fischer's deflection of a Kelly Murray shot finally broke the stalemate with 2:34 left in the period. Kudos to the Cougars for hanging tough with Canada's best team through 40 minutes.

Fischer picked up her second goal of the night when a shot from a tight angle on the power-play found its way behind Emma Pincott just 56 seconds into the period for the 2-0 lead. The T-Birds would use another power-play to make it a three-goal cushion. Mairead Bast's wrist shot found its way through the screen and past Pincott up high at 5:16, and the Thunderbirds were in control of this game. Despite some opportunities, the Cougars couldn't solve netminder Tori Micklash on this night as UBC picked up the 3-0 victory. Micklash stopped all 18 pucks sent her way for the shutout win while Pincott made 23 saves in a losing effort.

UBC at MOUNT ROYAL: After a solid road game the night before, UBC wanted the same effort on Saturday, and they certainly started well. They got things started just 1:31 into the game when Hannah Clayton-Carroll converted a rebound given up by Zoe DeBeauville off a Celine Tardif shot for the 1-0 lead. Mount Royal would finally solve Tori Micklash on Saturday when Rachel Piitz's shot was kicked out by Micklash to a waiting Sarah Weninger who easily potted the rebound at 7:14 to make it a 1-1 game.

Both Micklash and DeBeauville posted clean sheets in the second period, but the third period would see a winner emerge. Celine Tardif found Kathleen Cahoon open at the side of the net with a pass from the point, and Cahoon fed the puck across the crease to Logan Boyd who had little trouble in finding the net from that distance to give UBC the 2-1 lead at 7:45. Micklash held the fort the rest of the way as she picked up her second win of the weekend in the 2-1 UBC victory. Micklash made 24 stops on the afternoon while DeBeauville stopped 25 shots in the loss.

LETHBRIDGE at ALBERTA: I was going to build the importance of this game up for both teams, but when the puck dropped it was a one-team show. Amy Boucher opened the scoring at 5:22 of the first period to make it 1-0. In the second period, Kennedy Ganser scored at 3:50, Alex Poznikoff added a third goal at 14:16, and Boucher potted a power-play goal at 17:01 to make it 4-0. Throw in a shorthanded goal by Poznikoff at 12:12 of the third period, and that was all that Alberta needed on this night as Lindsey Post shut the door on the Pronghorns. Post made 17 saves in the 5-0 shutout win while Alicia Anderson stopped 35 shots in the loss.

LETHBRIDGE at ALBERTA: I'd like to say that this game was different, but the hits just kept on coming for the Pronghorns. Amy Boucher scored at 6:13 after serving a penalty. Boucher hopped out of the box and joined Alex Poznikoff on a two-on-one where Poznikoff went tape-to-tape and Boucher found the back of the net for the only goal of the first period as Alberta jumped out in front 1-0.

The second period was all Alberta as they completely dominated the middle frame. Autumn MacDougall scored on the power-play when she found the five-hole through Alicia Anderson at 13:43, and she added a second goal at 18:40 after taking a Poznikoff pass and ripping a shot past Anderson for the 3-0 lead. When the dust settled, Alberta had outshot the Pronghorns 15-1 in the second period.

Sarah Spence showed a flash of life in the third period for the Pronghorns as she beat Abby Benning with a great move before going high on Lindsey Post to snap the shutout at 1:24. However, the Pandas would answer once more just 70 seconds later when Poznikoff ripped a one-timer past Anderson off a MacDougall feed to make it 4-1. Post would hold the fort and the Pandas would skate to the 4-1 win on Saturday. Post stopped 14 shots in a fairly light afternoon's worth of work while Anderson made 35 stops for the second-straight day in the loss.

MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: In what was anticipated to be the best games of the weekend, the seventh-ranked Bisons traveled west to Saskatoon where they met the ninth-ranked Huskies. These two teams were separated by a point in the standings, so these two games had all sorts of implications on the standings.

The Huskies opened the scoring 8:56 into the first period when Kaitlin Willoughby was sprung down the left wing on a breakaway. The speedy forward went stick side on the deke past Rachel Dyck to give Saskatchewan the 1-0 lead. The goalies took over for the next 45 minutes, but the Bisons would end the scoring drought when Venla Hovi's shot from the point hit the back of the net under the crossbar behind Cassidy Hendricks with 4:12 to play. Neither team would score again before the final horn, so it was off to overtime to find a winner.

The first overtime period ended with the two teams still locked in the 1-1 draw. It looked like the shootout was going to be necessary, but a late scramble in front of Hendricks saw Lauren Keen push a rebound across the goal line with two seconds to play, and the Manitoba Bisons claimed the 2-1 OT win! Rachel Dyck stopped 27 shots in the five periods of play for the win while Hendricks made 21 saves over 69:58 of play.

MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: With the two teams tied in the standings after Manitoba's win on Friday, Saturday's game became even more important, and Manitoba got the scoring started early in the second period. After a scoreless first period, Charity Price found Jayden Skoleski in the slot, and her shot went stick-side on Cassidy Hendricks and into the net for the 1-0 just 50 seconds into the frame. Saskatchewan would respond near the midway point of the period. After some good pressure by the Huskies, Emilt Upgang's shot from the point eluded traffic and Rachel Dyck to dent the twine at 7:23, and these two teams would enter the third period deadlocked at 1-1.

It would be the Huskies who grabbed an early lead at the 3:40 mark. Bailee Bourassa's shot was stopped by Dyck, but Elizabeth Salyn pushed the rebound past a prone Rachel Dyck for the 2-1 lead. The Bisons continued to press for the equalizer, and they would find it with 5:55 to play in the game. Skoleski teed up another shot from the blue line, and this shot would find the wickets of Hendricks and just get across the line after she got a piece of it. With no other goals in the remaining time, we'd need overtime once more to decide things between the two prairie rivals.

1:06 into the first overtime period, Elizabeth Salyn was called for tripping, sending Manitoba to the power-play. 1:28 into the man-advantage, the game ended off a Karissa Kirkup snipe from the slot area to give Manitoba the 3-2 overtime victory! Rachel Dyck picked up her second overtime win in as many days, stopping 20 shots in the victory while Cassidy Hendricks was on the losing end of the result for the second night despite making 25 saves.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
British Columbia
11-1-2-0
37 49 22
W12
@ CAL
Manitoba
7-3-3-1
28 42 21
W2
vs MRU
Saskatchewan
7-3-2-2
27 32 27
L2
@ ALB
Alberta
5-3-3-3
24 35 24
W5
vs SAS
Regina
7-6-1-0
23 34 35
W2
@ LET
Mount Royal
4-8-0-2
14 21 33
L2
@ MAN
Lethbridge
2-9-1-2
10 22 47
L6
vs REG
Calgary
0-10-1-3
5 20 46
L9
vs UBC

I'm not gonna lie: UBC will probably take 13 wins into the Christmas break based on how they and Calgary have been playing. For the Thunderbirds, they had 16 wins all of last season in their CWUAA championship season, so it's very easy to see why they are the top university team in the nation. I'm not expecting much movement for Manitoba and Saskatchewan after two hard-fought overtime games, so expect the Bisons to remain seventh and the Huskies to remain ninth.

The playoff picture is beginning to emerge as we get ready for the last week of action in 2016. UBC will most likely have an opening-round bye and have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs unless they falter in the second-half of the season. I just don't see that happening. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Regina will all make the playoffs unless someone takes a serious nosedive in their second-half, but where they finish is still up for grabs when you look at the standings. It appears Mount Royal is headed back to the playoffs this season, but Lethbridge will certainly make a push in the second-half to try and knock the Cougars out of that sixth spot. Calgary has their work cut out for them, and they will most likely enter the Christmas break without a regulation win.

Get down to your local university for this weekend's Canada West women's hockey action! Three of the nation's best teams play in the four western provinces, and that means there will be great hockey all weekend long!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!