Saturday, 3 October 2015

New and old power Huskies sweep

The Huskies celebrate a goal from Marley Ervine (#9) on Saturday.
    It seemed like everyone had a part in bringing out the brooms, when the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team opened their Canada West regular season.
    The Huskies swept a two-game series against the visiting Mount Royal University Cougars on Friday and Saturday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink and the contributions of both rookies and veterans were key to the early success. That will be a theme the Huskies hope to build upon as the 2015-16 campaign progresses due to the fact their roster contains nine rookies along with a large contingent of holdovers from the 2013-14 Canada West championship winning team.
    Friday’s 2-1 victory was aided by the efforts of the newcomers. Before the Huskies rookies could come through with big moments, Maggie Shykula-Ross gave the Cougars an early 1-0 edge.
    The hosts answered back before the opening 20 minutes expired. Rookie defender Morgan Willoughby, who was the former captain of the Prince Albert A & W Bears midget AAA team, potted a goal on a Huskies power play to tie things up at 1-1 going into the first intermission.
Jerrica Waltz earned her first shutout victory for the Huskies on Saturday.
    After a scoreless second, rookie forward Brooklyn Haubrich, who is a graduate of the Swift Current Wildcats midget AAA squad, netted the winner for the Huskies on another power-play chance.
    Fourth-year veteran goaltender Cassidy Hendricks made 23 stops to up her Huskies team record for career victories to 35. Jess Ross turned away 27 shots to take the setback in the Cougars net.
While the rookies accounted for the big moments in Friday’s win, the veterans came through in Saturday’s 2-0 follow up victory.
    The Huskies opened up the scoring in Saturday’s win with their third power-play goal of the weekend. Marley Ervine and Kaitlin Willoughby combined to set up fourth-year forward Rachel Johnson for her first goal of the season at the 13:58 mark of the opening frame. The tally was a big one for Johnson, who missed most of the second half of last season with an anterior cruciate ligament tear in her knee.
    Ervine, who is in her fifth year of eligibility, fired home an insurance goal in the second roofing a shot top corner on Cougars goaltender Emma Pincott, who turned away 27 shots taking the loss in the Mount Royal net.
Huskies captain Paige Anakaer (#11) tries to poke a puck home.
    Early in the third period, Cougars forward Rachel Piitz almost got her team back in the game wiring a shot off the post. The was the closest the visitors came to beating Huskies sophomore netminder Jerrica Waltz, who made 25 saves to earn her first career Canadian Interuniversity Sport regular season shutout.
    Overall on Saturday, the Huskies played good structural game, but they did go through the odd stretches where they were pinned in their own zone.
    The Dogs couldn’t have asked for any better results from their special teams. They were 3-for-6 on the power play and killed off all four shorthanded situations they faced over two games.
    The Huskies return to action this coming Friday and Saturday, when they host the University of Calgary Dinos (0-2) at 7 p.m. on both nights at the Rutherford Rink.

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