|The Huskies celebrate Leah Bohlken's double OT winning goal.|
Leah Bohlken appears to be a perfect fit as the new main power-play quarterback for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team.
On Friday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink, the 19-year-old Moose Jaw product set up one goal on the power play and blasted home the double overtime winner on another power play. Bohlken’s efforts allowed the Huskies to pull out a 2-1 victory in their regular season home opener over the University of Alberta Pandas.
While working with a four-on-three advantage in a second five-minute frame, Bohlken pinched down from the point into the left slot and converted a perfect backdoor pass from Huskies star winger Kaitlin Willoughby for the winning tally.
“That was unreal,” said Bohlken. “That was a beautiful pass from Willow (Willoughby). (Lauren) Zary is working hard in the zone.
“Everybody worked hard to keep it from going into our net. When you can put one away like that, I think it is pretty insane. It makes you pretty happy.”
Bohlken assumed the role as the main power-play quarterback on the point in her sophomore season due to the graduation of first-team all-Canadian all-star Julia Flinton. Last season, Bohlken was paired up on the back end with Flinton on the Huskies top power-play unit.
|Leah Bohlken controls the puck at the point for the Huskies.|
“I got multiple opportunities from the coaches. Playing with her definitely helped. I’ve had practise from last year, so coming into this year, Flinton is not there on the point with me, but there is another girl that is right there in Kayla Kirwan.
“I played a little bit with Kira Bannatyne. They are both there. They are both really good hockey players.”
The Huskies converted on 2-of-8 power-play chances on Friday and could have had more goals with a little better finish around the net. On the team’s fourth power-play chance early in the second, feisty forward Brooklyn Haubrich nailed the post and winger Rachel Johnson missed an open cage.
After starting out 0-for-4 on the power play, the Huskies cashed in on their fifth power-play chance at the 13:45 mark of the second. Kennedy Harris and Bohlken combined to get the puck over to captain Lauren Zary, who popped home her first goal of the season.
|Huskies goalie Cassidy Hendricks stops Pandas forward Alex Poznikoff.|
“I think that is important for any defence is to control the puck and look for your forwards down low (and) look for your defence partner,” said Bohlken. “To not panic with the puck is a huge thing.
“I still do panic with it, but it is something that I am working on. I think like tonight is an example of how practice pays off. You have to be calm with it.
“I am not perfect yet. I don’t think I will ever be perfect, but I am trying.”
|Kaitlin Willoughby had a key assist for the Huskies.|
During a rush attempt into the offensive zone, the Huskies turned the puck over at the U of A blue-line. The Pandas quickly transitioned up ice the other way getting a short-handed goal from captain Sasha Lutz.
After the Huskies controlled play for the first 40 minutes, the Pandas had a big territorial advantage in the third period and in the two overtime frames. Momentum swung back to the home side, when the Huskies went on their eighth and final power-play chance.
The Pandas also failed to score on seven power-play opportunities, which also contributed to the final outcome of the contest.
Cassidy Hendricks made 26 saves to earn the win in goal for the Huskies (2-1). Lindsey Post turned away 24 shots to take the extra time setback in goal for the Pandas (2-0-1), who entered Friday’s encounter rated eighth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top 10 rankings.
The Huskies and Pandas will go at it again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rutherford.
“Every game is a battle,” said Bohlken. “You have to come out in (every) period ready to play or else any team can take advantage and any team can get a goal like we did.
“It wasn’t our best third period start, and it wasn’t our best third period. It wasn’t our best game. We still have a lot more in us.
“Hopefully, we can get to playing our best and win some more games.”
Golden Bears prevail in OT over Huskies men’s squad
|Michael Sofillas had a goal in a double OT setback for the Huskies.|
Taking on their forever rivals the U of Alberta Golden Bears, the Huskies saw a 2-1 lead disappear late in the third period before falling 3-2 in double overtime. Bears forward Jamie Crooks potted the equalizer with 8.9 second to play in the third.
He proceeded to bag the winner at the 1:40 mark of a second five-minute overtime period firing home the winner high glove side on Huskies star netminder Jordon Cooke.
Rookie Trevor Cox put U of A up 1-0 with a short-handed goal in the first period. Third-year forward Michael Sofillas potted the equalizer in the second for the Huskies to knot the score up at 1-1. Rookie Wyatt Johnson put the Dogs ahead 2-1 with an early third period goal.
Cooke made 29 saves to take the extra time setback in goal for the Huskies (2-0-1). Kenny Cameron turned away 31 shots to backstop the Bears to victory in their regular season opener.
The Huskies entered the game rated third in the CIS top 10 rankings, while the Bears were fourth. Both teams face each other again Saturday in Edmonton.
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