Friday, 17 October 2014

Banner night for Huskies

Will captain Cami’s presence provide an offensive spark?

The Huskies after winning the Canada West title in March.

            It will be a historic banner night for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team.
            Before the Huskies hit the ice for their regular season home opener at 7 p.m. tonight at the Rutherford Rink, they will raise their first ever Canada West championship banner at the ancient facility. Most of last year’s squad returned, and the players will no doubt have a whole bunch of great memories flood their minds during the pre-game ceremony.
            Having played their first four games on the road, the Huskies return home sporting a 2-2 record in the always tough Canada West Conference. During those contests, an early theme has emerged with the Huskies struggling on offence scoring just a total of six goals.
            Last season’s Canada West championship team contained only one fifth-year player, but her graduation appears to have left a hole the team is still trying to fill.
            Captain Cami Wooster will be at the Rutherford Rink on Friday to help raise the Canada West banner to the rafters, and her presence might somehow be enough to bring the Huskies luck around the net. The visiting University of Alberta Pandas, who will also play the Huskies on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Rutherford Rink, are likely happy the Salvador, Sask., product can only be around to provide inspiration and not to lace up the skates to play.
            Last season, Wooster was the unquestioned leader on and off the ice. She was the team’s leading scorer piling up 16 goals and 15 assists in 28 regular season games.
            During her career, she worked hard but was also blessed with an undeniable gift to make plays offensively.
            Last season when the Huskies needed a goal in a tight spot, Wooster found a way to come through. In the third and deciding game of the best-of-three Canada West championship series against the University of Regina Cougars, she put her team up 1-0 in the third period with a goal on an individual effort.
When the game went to double overtime locked in a 1-1 deadlock, Wooster picked up the assist on the winner scored by linemate Kaitlin Willoughby.
During regular season, Wooster also had a pair of big overtime winners. One came against the Pandas in a 3-2 victory in Edmonton almost exactly a year ago from this date.
She seemed to be able to bring the Huskies to another level with her play and from the fact she was genuinely loved by all her teammates. That intangible alone allowed the Huskies to play at a higher level.
With all that said, it is still early in the Canada West season, as each team has only played four games each. There is still a lot of time for the Huskies to fill Wooster’s void in a collective manner, and they have the players to do that.
In the early going, you have to think the old captain would have made a difference in the team’s 2-0 loss to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in Vancouver on Oct. 4 and a 3-1 setback to the University of Manitoba Bisons on Oct. 10.
On banner raising night, the Pandas, who are a tradition CIS powerhouse, will definitely be out to spoil the party.
With Wooster in attendance to provide inspiration, this might be the night the Huskies explode offensively. 

Playoffs come early for soccer squad

Huskies captain Meagan Manson.
            The Huskies women’s soccer team’s final two regular season games are basically playoff matches.
            They close their regular season schedule hosting the University of Regina Cougars at 12 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday at PotashCorp Park. Entering that series, the Huskies are holding on to fourth place and the final playoff berth in the Prairies Division of the Canada West Conference with a 5-2-3 record. The Cougars trail the Huskies by one point in the standings with a 5-3-2 record.
            If the Huskies win one of these final two games, they will move on to the post-season. Fans should expect an intense battle on both days that is worth the price of admission.
            Also, Huskies forward Janelle Zapski enters the final weekend of play tied with Jessica King of Trinity Western University for the Canada West lead in goals at 10. 
            The Huskies men's soccer team wraps up regular season play traveling to Calgary to face the Mount Royal University Cougars on Saturday and Sunday. The Dogs have already locked up first place in the Prairies Division on the men's side with a 9-0-1 record. 
             This season, U of S has already set school regular season for wins and points in the standings (28). The Huskies are trying to post a 10-win season for the first time in the program's history. Last year, the Huskies were 8-5-2, which was the team's best ever record until the current campaign.

Hilltops open post-season against Rifles

Wayndel Lewis on the run for the Hilltops.
            The Saskatoon Hilltops begin what they hope will be a long march through the Canadian Junior Football League playoffs.
            The Hilltops, who finished first in the Prairie Football Conference at 6-2, host the fourth place Winnipeg Rifles (3-5) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Saskatoon Minor Football Field. This marks the third time in four weeks these two teams did battle against each other.
            Saskatoon took both meetings dumping the Rifles 48-23 at SMF on Sept 28 and 44-19 on Oct. 5 in Winnipeg.
            After downing the Edmonton Wildcats 28-23 to close the regular season last Sunday at SMF, the Hilltops will likely find a way to take their play up another notch in this first playoff encounter.
            Sunday’s game marks another chance to see Hilltops dynamic running back Wayndel Lewis, who officially led the PFC with 1,063 yards rushing on 130 carries, while scoring nine touchdowns.

Huskies volleyball teams hit the court 

            The Huskies volleyball teams make their home regular season debut in what should be some very entertaining games against the University of Alberta.
            Both Huskies teams enter the matches with 1-1 records. The Huskies women’s squad is still a young one, but should be a strong contender for a playoff spot. Third year outside hitter Emmalyn Copping has been rocking it in the early going.
The Huskies men’s squad is veteran filled with two fifth-year players and eight fourth-year players. They have a berth into the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship tournament as the host squad, but will contended to go into that event as Canada West champs. Fifth-year outside hitters Matthew Busse and Paul Thomson have been piling up the kills at the season’s start.
The Dogs battle the U of Alberta both Friday and Saturday at the Physical Activity Complex with the women’s game set for 6 p.m. and the men’s match following at 8 p.m. on both nights.

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