Friday, 19 September 2014

Huskies big underdogs tonight

The U of S Huskies DBs listen to teaching points at practice.
            It is battle for first place just looking at the Canada West football standings, but realistically, it should be viewed as a mismatch.
            When the University of Saskatchewan Huskies head into their third regular season game tonight at 7 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium, they will be huge underdogs against the University of Calgary Dinos. Going in, this can’t be viewed as your typical battle between clubs with identical 2-0 records.
            Having won the last six straight Canada West titles, the Dinos are the class of the conference. So far in the regular season, they have outscored their opposition 130-14 in their two wins. Until some other team on the field can prove otherwise, the Canada West title is the Dinos to lose.
            On top of that, the Dinos have beaten the Huskies the past five times the two squads have done battle. On what is Support the Troops night in appreciation for the Canadian Armed Forces, the Huskies appear to be heading into their own Waterloo.
            During the opening week of the season, the Dinos pasted the University of Alberta Golden Bears 71-3 in Calgary. Last Saturday, the Huskies needed overtime to get past those same Golden Bears 42-41.
             On the plus side, the Huskies do have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If they stomped, it would have been expected. If they pull out the upset, it would be their biggest victory in years.
            The best part about the Huskies is they are prepared by a standout coaching staff. Head coach Brian Towriss will do his best to ensure his players are put in the best positions to succeed.
            At this point in the season, that might not be enough to stop the Dinos from improving to 3-0.
            Besides the action on the football field, rising country star Jess Moskaluke is slated to perform at the tailgate party before the game. The tailgate party is set to start at 5 p.m.

Blades back at it versus the Raiders

            When the Saskatoon Blades battle the Prince Albert Raiders, how can you not get excited, if you are a local hockey fan from either community.
            Blades versus Raiders is one of those traditional WHL rivalries that doesn’t lose its lustre. The rivalry may go through fluxuations in intensity, but it never grows old.
            The two clubs face each other tonight at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert before closing a home-and-home series on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Credit Union Centre or the soon to be called SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
            For fans in Toontown, the Blades will likely be better than the 16-51-2-3 record they put up last season. Most of the troubles in that campaign came from the fact the team had a huge turnover after playing host to the Memorial Cup tournament in May of 2013.
            There is a lot of optimism among Blades fans, but first thing is first. The double blue will try to stop the music man at the Raiders games in Prince Albert from playing “Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon” after tonight’s match. 

Hilltops back in old form

            Now that was more like it for the Saskatoon Hilltops.
            Last Saturday, the Toppers were on a roll in Edmonton squashing the Huskies 68-17. The win allowed Saskatoon to get back to 2-2.
            The Hilltops coaching staff was looking for one night where they could just come out on a roll. Before that win, the Hilltops fell to 1-2 on Sept. 6 falling 26-25 at home to the defending Canadian Junior Football League champion Regina Thunder, despite having led 25-3 at one point in the third quarter.
            In the win over the Edmonton Huskies, the Hilltops piled up 359 yards on the ground and 282 yards through the air. Running back Wayndel Lewis carried the ball 16 times for 274 yards and scored two touchdowns.
            Quarterback Jared Andreychuk completed 15 of 28 passes for 260 yards, four touchdown passes and one interception.
            The Hilltops return to action on Sunday, when they travel to Calgary to face the 1-3 Colts. The Colts should prove to be a test, because they are now guided by head coach Matthew (Snoop) Blokker. Blokker came over to Calgary in the off-season after guiding the Vancouver Island Raiders to seven British Columbia Football League titles in the past eight seasons.

Pulling for Smuker

            The U of S Huskies men’s hockey team has been back on the ice in exhibition action, but with one big absence anyone linked to the team wishes was not there.
            The Huskies will progress through the campaign without Cody Smuk suiting up in his #24 jersey to take up a position on a forward line.
            Shortly after the Huskies won a silver medal at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship tournament at home in March, the hard-working Saskatoon product was diagnosed with testicular cancer along with a tumour in his right lung.
            Once Smuk made his situation public, the community of Saskatoon rallied around him. During a fundraising campaign in June, over $20,000 was raised in a three-day period for the 25-year-old, who was slated to play his fifth and final year of eligibility. To date, just over $33,000 has been raised.
            Obviously, Smuk, his girlfriend Stephanie Vause and their families have gone through a number of ups and downs.
            Recently, Smuk sent a message to friends through Facebook that the battle was going good, but he was still in one of those wait and see periods.
            The former WHLer, who last played major junior with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2010, is one of the best good guys you will ever meet in sports and is known for being one of those must-have guys in the dressing room.
            Since moving to Saskatoon in July, I have been wearing my “Get Smuk’d Cancer” bracelet pretty much every day in support of Smuk.
            Here is hoping Smuk’s current wait goes by fast and victory in this battle comes sooner than later.
            For those wanting to donate to help the young man who has engaged in a few cancer fighting fundraising initiatives before being diagnosed himself, they can do so right here.

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