EDMONTON — The race for the Hardy Cup playoffs is heating up as three teams battle for the final two spots with just two weeks left in the season.
The biggest battle is between the Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies. Both teams are tied for the final playoff spot with 2-4 records. On paper, Alberta faces a daunting task as they take on the defending Hardy Cup Champion (8) Manitoba Bisons Friday night followed by a home date with the top ranked team in the nation, the (1) Calgary Dinos. With a win against Calgary highly unlikely, the Bears have no room for error.
“This game, obviously if we have playoff aspirations, if we don’t win this game it will be very difficult for us to achieve that goal,” said Bears Head Coach Chris Morris.
The Saskatchewan Huskies will have their hands full Friday night when they host the (9) UBC Thunderbirds (watch LIVE on Shaw at 7 p.m.) but have the luxury of facing the winless Regina Rams to wrap up the season. Huskies Head Coach Brian Towriss is confident his team will fight their way into the post season.
“We expect to make the playoffs, we really do.”
While the Huskies and Bears battle for that final playoff spot, the Bisons and Thunderbirds are fighting for home field advantage. In terms of making the playoffs, Manitoba can afford a loss against Alberta Friday night but if that happens, their hopes of hosting a Hardy Cup Semi Final would be up in smoke. All season long, the Bisons have had their backs up against the wall, fighting tooth and nail in most games – with the outcomes determined in the final seconds. A heart-stopping trend, but one that speaks volumes about the character in their locker room.
“It’s not what you are, meaning the position you play, it’s who you are at this level that probably puts your team and you as an individual over the edge,” said Bisons Head Coach Brian Dobie.
As for UBC, they go into Saskatchewan knowing they’ll have their hands full against the Huskies. Head Coach Blake Nill knows the Huskies are desperate to win to keep their playoff hopes alive and that their 2-4 record is highly misleading.
“This is a good team. They’ve come off two straight games against perhaps the best team in the country and 95 per cent of teams in the CIS would be 0-2 versus Calgary. Their record to me means nothing.”
Alberta visits the Manitoba Bisons Friday night with kick off at 6 p.m. MST.
Canada West Football on Shaw TV takes us to Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon, where the Saskatchewan Huskies host the UBC Thunderbirds. Kick off at 7 p.m. MST and you can watch it LIVE on Shaw TV and Shaw HD Ch. 304.
And on Saturday, the undefeated Calgary Dinos host the winless Regina Rams at McMahon Stadium starting at 1 p.m.
A reminder Global News is your home for the Hardy Cup Playoffs beginning with a Semi Final on Nov. 7 and the Hardy Cup Final on Nov. 14.