Weekend Preview: UFV Cascades Brave Prairie Weather to Face Winnipeg Wesmen and Manitoba Bisons
The UFV Cascades will travel to Manitoba this weekend in search of some real snow and a couple of wins. On Friday UFV will face the Winnipeg Wesmen, and on Saturday they will visit the Manitoba Bisons. Both Cascades squads are coming off disappointing performances at holiday tournaments, and are hungry for some January redemption.
The Cascades (5-5) are in for a tough game against the Wesmen (6-4), who ended 2013 on a four game losing streak. While two of those losses came against the formidable Alberta Golden Bears, the skid still stings for a team that started the year with six straight wins.
UFV’s top priority will be to shut down fifth-year forward Steven Wesley, who has more points (191) in the first ten games of the season than any other two Wesmen combined. Aiding Wesley, is fifth-year playmaker Andrew Cunningham (who leads the team with 68 assists over 10 games). If Cunningham is allowed to consistently penetrate and dish either to Wesley or shooters Samuel Hattin and Travis Krahn, the Cascades will be in for a very rough night.
On Saturday UFV will face the Manitoba Bison (1-9). Despite making the playoffs last season, this season’s incarnation of the Bisons are on an eight game skid that stretches back into early November. Granted the Bisons have so far been without star point guard Stephan Walton, who was selected as a 2012-2013 Canada West Second Team All-Star. If Walton returns this weekend, it could transform Manitoba into a different team.
The Cascades (7-3) are the obvious favourite against both the Wesmen (4-6) and the Bisons (3-7), despite ending 2013 on a rocky note with only one win in their last four regular season games. UFV will be looking to improve on the efficiency of their attack in the offensive zone as they aspire to a high-energy yet disciplined couple of games.
Friday’s game will pit the Cascades against a Winnipeg squad known for its aggressive zone defense and emotional intensity. The Wesmen are led by second-year guard Megan Noonan (av. 15.6 ppg) and fourth-year guard Stephanie Kleyson (av. 14.6 ppg). Winnipeg averages 62.1 points a game to UFV’s 67.4.
The Bisons are in the midst of rebuilding, but still field a solid and competitive squad. According to Cascades coach Al Tuchscherer, Manitoba’s third year guard Robin Eyer is “perhaps the best shooter in the Canada West.” Eyer is 23 for 56 from beyond the arc this season, and the Cascades will need to make her shots as contested as possible on Saturday.
Friday, Jan 10
4 pm (PST) UFV Cascades @ Winnipeg Wesmen (WBB)
6 pm (PST) UFV Cascades @ Winnipeg Wesmen (MBB)
Saturday, Jan 11
3 pm (PST) UFV Cascades @ Manitoba Bisons (WBB)
5 pm (PST) UFV Cascades @ Manitoba Bisons (MBB)
Watch all the games online at canadawest.tv