By Lethbridge Herald on October 6, 2017.
After narrowly missing the post-season the past two seasons, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns open the 2017-18 Canada West season looking to take that next step.
The Pronghorns open the season this weekend with a home-and-home series versus the Calgary Dinos, beginning tonight in Calgary, with the second game Saturday at Nicholas Sheran Arena at 7 p.m.
“Coming off our strong non-conference schedule, we are excited to get things going with Canada West play,” said head coach Spiros Anastas. “We learned a lot about ourselves over the nine non-conference games and believe there are a lot of positives about our team.
“There are no easy games in Canada West. This is the strongest league in U SPORTS from top to bottom, so we can’t take anything for granted.”
At 11-14-3 last year, the Pronghorns fell two points shy of the post-season for the second consecutive season.
“After finishing just short for the last two seasons, it’s hard not to have a chip on both shoulders,” said Anastas. “My staff and I believe in this team and we think there’s a real sense of self belief in our locker room.”
The Pronghorns and Dinos split their two games in pre-season with each winning convincingly on home ice.
The Pronghorns have 18 returning players, including new captain Mitch Maxwell and Justin Valentino. Maxwell led the team in scoring with 29 points last season and Valentino finished third in the conference with 16 goals.
The Pronghorns look to have one of the better goaltending tandems in the conference. Garret Hughson returns after playing 23 games last year as a freshman, while former Prince George Cougar Ty Edmonds provides another quality option.
Other key additions are defenceman Dallas Valentine and AJHL-leading goal scorer Tyler Maltby.
Joining the Dinos this season are 13 new players, including long-time WHL goaltender Jordan Papirny and former Lethbridge Hurricane Matt Alfaro.
The Pronghorns will be on the road next weekend, travelling to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies.
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