Monday, 27 October 2014

Huskies impress with sweep

Defending Canada West champs down Wickenheiser and Dinos

Goalie Cassidy Hendricks kicks out a shot for the Huskies.

Well that was definitely the definition of team effort.
            The University of Saskatchewan Huskies Women’s Hockey team was in top form on the weekend and passed a big early season test. Sitting with a 3-3 record going into the weekend, the defending Canada West champs faced a University of Calgary Dinos team that had some big additions from a season ago.
            The Dinos roster contained Canadian National team icon Hayley Wickenheiser and Russian national team standouts Iya Gavrilova and Alexandra Vafina. All three were not with the Dinos last season because it was Olympic year. Wickenheiser and Gavrilov helped the Dinos win a Canadian Interuniversity Sport title in 2012, while Vafina is in her first year of eligibility on the Calgary side.
            With that trio in the fold, the Dinos entered the weekend leading the Canada West standings with four wins and two overtime losses.
            Even with all those additions, the Huskies pulled out a sweep in a two-game series at the ancient Rutherford Rink. On Friday, the Huskies rallied from a 3-1 deficit to pull out a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory. Brown University transfer Lauren Zary potted the winner at 2:52 into extra time.
            On Saturday, the Huskies scored three times in the second period to go up 3-0 and cruised to a 3-1 victory.
            All of the Huskies forward lines and defensive pairings played strong system wise, forechecked hard and took away a lot of the passing lanes the Dinos thought they had, when they tried to work up ice.
            The hosts also played physical too. That was best shown when Huskies defenceman Brooke Mutch crushed Dinos forward Jenna Smith in the second period of Friday’s encounter.
            Mutch was given an elbowing penalty, but her team killed off the infraction. It also seemed to spark a turn of momentum in that contest.
            The Dinos led 3-1 at the time of the hit. When Mutch’s penalty was killed, the Huskies closed the second period scoring on a power play of their own, when fifth-year forward Kandace Cook tallied to make it 3-2.
Edmonton product Rachel Johnson scored another Huskies power-play goal early in the third to knot things up at 3-3 as a prelude to Zary’s heroics in the extra session.
            Kaitlin Willoughby, who was the CIS rookie of the year last season, was huge for the Dogs offensively on Friday netting her team’s first goal and collecting two assists.
The Huskies celebrate a Kandace Cook goal on Saturday.
            Cook and Zary scored again on Saturday, while Chelsey Sundby had her team’s third goal.
            Cassidy Hendricks kept adding to her reputation as a money goalie turning away 69-of-73 shots in the two contests. She also had a couple of key bailout saves on the weekend too.
            Dinos netminders Hayley Dowling and Carissa Fischer combined to turn away 60-67 shots over the two contests.
            Now 5-3, the Huskies have a bye week before traveling to Calgary to face the Mount Royal University Cougars on Nov. 7 and 8.
            NOTE – The women’s Canada West conference is using a news system for tallying points in the standings this season, which is similar to one used in the Olympics. Regulation time wins are worth three points, extra time wins two points and one point is awarded for an extra time loss. Under that system, the Huskies are currently fifth in the eight-team Canada West with 13 points.
            The same system is being utilized in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League. 

Football team locks up home playoff date

Keegan Arnyek (#16) returns a missed field goal for a TD.
            The U of S Huskies football team has a home playoff game in the bag.
            On Saturday, the Huskies locked up second place in Canada West with a 41-23 victory over the University of Alberta Golden Bears before 3,605 spectators at Griffiths Stadium. The win was a huge bounce back game for the Huskies, who were trounced 41-8 in their previous outing at the hands of the University of Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg.
            The contest against the Golden Bears was close for a lengthy time, before the Huskies pulled away. Just past the midway point of the fourth quarter and the Huskies leading 27-17, the Golden Bears were attempting a field goal to cut the U of S lead to seven.
            The field goal was missed, and Keegan Arnyek returned the miss 116 yards for a spectacular touchdown. The return was aided by some huge blocks from Geoffrey Hughes and Mark Ingram.
            With the win, the Huskies improve to 5-2 and close the regular season traveling to Vancouver to take on the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds this coming Saturday.
            The Huskies will host a Canada West semifinal playoff game on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium.

Soccer team makes history 

Erica Hindmarsh in action for the U of S Huskies.
The U of S Huskies Women’s Soccer team made history on Sunday.
            The Huskies captured their first playoff win downing the MacEwan University Griffins 2-1 at PotashCorp Park. Carmen Gorlick and Erica Hindmarsh scored for the Huskies, while Cara Santaga picked up the win in goal.
            With the win, the Huskies advance to the women’s Canada West final four tournament, which opens this coming Friday in Langley, B.C. The Trinity Western University Spartans host the tourney, which will include the University of Alberta Pandas and the Fraser Valley Cascades.
            The Huskies men’s soccer team cruised to a 5-1 Canada West quarter-final victory over the University of Winnipeg also on Sunday at PotashCorp Park. Brett Levis scored twice for the Huskies, while Garrett Peters, Bobbi Nicholat and Sam Whiting all had singles. Michal Bandula picked up the win in goal.
            With the win, the Huskies will host the men’s Canada West final four tournament this coming Friday and Saturday. The tourney will include the U of A Golden Bears, the UBC Thunderbirds and the University of Victoria Vikes.
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