Sunday, 20 August 2017

Hilltops hammer Rifles 44-0

Jordan Walls threw a pair of TD tosses for the Hilltops.
    When the Saskatoon Hilltops had the wind at their backs, they made the Winnipeg Rifles pay.
    On Sunday with a strong wind blowing at St. Vital Mustangs Field in Winnipeg, the Hilltops scored all of the game’s points when they were driving with the wind to bomb the host Rifles 44-0. After playing through a scoreless first quarter in the Week 2 Canadian Junior Football League encounter, the Hilltops piled up 33 points in the second quarter and 11 points in the fourth quarter working with the wind.
    The scoring run in the second quarter was sparked by the fact the Hilltops forced the Rifles to go two and out on a number of their offensive series. When Winnipeg was unable to get any good punts off into the wind, the Hilltops took advantage of good field position.
    Saskatoon jumped ahead 14-0 early in the fourth quarter with two touchdown runs from star running back Logan Fischer, who scored from a yard out and five yards out. Fischer’s second rushing major capped a short 21-yard touchdown drive that was set up by a short Rifles punt and no yards and objectionable conduct penalties on the host side.
    Winnipeg conceded a safety due to being pinned in their end to give Saskatoon a 16-0 edge. Safety/kicker James Vause booted a 17-yard field goal to push Saskatoon’s lead out to 19-0.
    The Hilltops proceeded to put together a 65-yard scoring drive that was capped by a one-yard touchdown pass that saw quarterback Jordan Walls hit defensive lineman Tom Schnitzler on a gadget play. Schnitzler lined up as a tight end in Saskatoon’s short yardage package and came open on a play-action pass play. His catch gave the visitors a 26-0 edge.
    With 8.2 seconds to play in the first half, Walls hit receiver Jason Price with a nine-yard touchdown pass to give the Hilltops a 33-0 lead.
    The teams proceeded to play through a scoreless third quarter, and just four seconds into the fourth quarter, Walls ran in for a major from three yards out to give the Hilltops a 40-0 lead. The Rifles conceded two more safeties late in the frame to round out the scoring in the Hilltops 44-0 romp.
    The Rifles couldn’t manufacture any points in the first and third quarters working with the wind, because the Hilltops defence wouldn’t allow it. In the first quarter, Hilltops linebacker Riley Pickett had the biggest highlight recording two sacks, which came on back-to-back plays.
    Sophomore defensive back Leif Larson had the biggest highlight in the third quarter making an interception on a tipped pass.
    Fischer had a monster game for the Hilltops carrying the ball 27 times for 186 yards, and he hauled in two passes for 11 yards.
    With the win, the Hilltops, who are the three time defending CJFL champions, improved to 2-0, while the Rifles fell to 1-1.
    The Hilltops return to action this coming Saturday hosting their home opener at Saskatoon Minor Football Field at 7 p.m. against the Ottawa Sooners (0-2). The Rifles travel to Edmonton to take on the Wildcats (0-2).

Football Huskies get live action in Green vs. White scrimmage

Matthew Baraniuk runs in a TD during the Huskies scrimmage.
    The University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team hit the field for their first live game style action on Friday with their Green vs. White scrimmage.
    With the Huskies coaching staff engaged in evaluations giving players opportunities in various roles, it was tough to come away with any judgments from the intrasquad match. The overall play seemed very solid on the surface.
    Some of the highlights saw running back Shakur Harris high hurdle a would-be tackler playing for Team Green. Defensive back Brooks Falloon had a nice pick-six for Team White. Rookie running back Matthew Baraniuk had some nice runs and scored a touchdown playing for Team White.
When the dust settled, Team White came away with a 19-7 win.
    After a day off on Saturday, the Huskies resumed training camp activities with a couple of practices on Sunday. They head to Hamilton for a U Sports exhibition match against the McMaster University Marauders this coming Friday.
    The Huskies open the regular season traveling to Winnipeg for a clash against the U of Manitoba Bisons on Sept. 1.

Inferno pick Shirley in CWHL Draft

    It appears Sophie Shirley’s hockey home will be with the Calgary Inferno for the upcoming season.
    On Sunday, the Inferno selected Shirley in the third round and 19th overall in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft. Shirley, who is a graduate of the Saskatoon Stars female midget AAA team, wrote on Twitter she looked forward to the upcoming season with the Inferno.
    Shirley played 36 games last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s female prep team based out of Penticton, B.C., collecting 32 goals and 28 assists. The skilled centre just finished taking part in Canada’s National Women’s Development Team selection camp.
    For the past two seasons, Shirley was a member of Canada’s under-18 women’s team. She officially dressed for her first two games with Canada’s Senior National Women’s team in December of 2016 as part of a two-game series in Sarnia, Ont., and Plymouth, Mich., against the United States.
    The CWHL was formed in 2007 to create an elite league to give a place for top level women’s players to continue to develop their skills. A number of national team players from various countries play in the CWHL, which operates as a not-for-profit enterprise.
    Last season, the Montreal Canadiennes downed the Inferno 3-1 in the CWHL championship game to capture the Clarkson Cup.
    Shirley has committed to play for the University of Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association ranks. She is putting off joining the Badgers for a season in order to play her freshman year with friend Emily Clark, who is on Hockey Canada’s 28-player centralized roster for the Senior National Women’s team. 
    Hockey Canada will eventually select 23 players from that roster to play on the Senior National Women’s team that will compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are set to run Feb. 9 to 25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
    The Inferno also selected left-winger Kennedy Brown in the ninth round and 61st overall in the CWHL Draft from the Rocky Mountain Raiders midget AAA in Alberta. Brown, who had seven goal and 11 assists in 24 regular season games in her 16-year-old campaign with the Raiders last season, has committed to join the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s team in 2018. 

Chase camp features some youngsters

Brayden Schenn takes part in the Chase Fantasy Hockey Camp.
    This year’s Kelly Chase Fantasy Hockey Camp held at the Harold Latrace Arena welcomed the influx of a few local area youngsters who are still playing in the professional hockey ranks.
    The professional participants at this year’s camp, which concluded on Saturday, included my young cousin and defenceman Nelson Nogier, who finished up his rookie professional campaign last season playing 10 games for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, left-winger Taylor Leier, who played 10 games last season with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as a third year pro and centre Chandler Stephenson, who played four games last season with the NHL’s Washington Capitals as a third year pro.
    Centre Lane Pederson was also on the ice, and he played his 19-year-old campaign last season with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos and has an NHL entry-level contract signed with the Arizona Coyotes.
    Brayden Schenn, who spent the majority of the past six seasons playing centre for the NHL’s Flyers, was back as one of the returning regulars at the Chase Fantasy Hockey Camp. The skilled centre, who will turn 26 on Tuesday, will suit up for the St. Louis Blues for the upcoming NHL season. Schenn, who starred in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades from 2007 to 2011, was dealt to the Blues during a trade that was made at last June’s NHL Entry Draft.
    The Kelly Chase Fantasy Hockey Camp is an event that raises funds for local Saskatchewan charities. It has been held in Saskatoon for three straight years.
    The concept of the camp allows anyone from the public to purchase a spot at the camp for the chance to rub shoulders with former and current NHLers and be treated like a professional player. That means trainers and staffers set up your stall and prepare your equipment in the exact way that happens in the NHL.
    Teams of 14 players can join the camp at the cost of $20,000, or individuals can register for $2,500. The teams at the camp add to their rosters by drafting from a pool of former and current players who are at the camp. The draft order is determined by a draft auction.
    The camp concludes with the highest bidding team from the draft auction getting the chance to play a team made up of former and current NHL players.
    At this year’s final game, the NHL team came away with an 8-7 victory.
    Overall, the Chase Fantasy Hockey Camp has become a fun annual social fundraiser.

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