Saturday, 8 September 2018

Roughriders win fourth straight in crazy fashion, CFL just insane

Samuel Eguavoen scores TD for the Roughriders on Saturday.
    Even when the road boos feel like cheers, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have to go through their share of drama to earn victory.
    On Saturday at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, the Roughriders jumped to a 20-17 halftime lead in unfathomable fashion against the host Blue Bombers in front of a packed crowd of 33,134 spectators. As the teams departed to the dressing rooms for halftime, a vocal number of people in attendance booed the host side off the field, and it was apparent Bombers fans were the ones unloading the boos.
    With 68 seconds remaining in the first half, the Bombers were holding a 17-13 lead and had the ball at the Saskatchewan seven yard line with a first and goal. Bombers starting quarterback Matt Nichols tried to throw an ill-advised underhanded pass upfield, and the ball landed right in the gut of Roughriders linebacker Samuel Eguavoen.
    Eguavoen ran the ball back 103 yards the other way for a Saskatchewan touchdown, which gave the visitors a 20-17 lead. The Roughriders first touchdown of the contest happen to come off a 97-yard interception return by defensive end Willie Jefferson.
    By halftime, Saskatchewan had scored two touchdowns off interception returns that totalled 200 yards. In any football game, that sort of occurrence is unthinkable.
    When a team gets booed off the field by its own fans, it usually feels as good as cheers for the visiting side.
Willie Jefferson scored a touchdown for the Roughriders on Saturday.
    Even with the Bombers fans giving their team the raspberries, the Roughriders weren’t able to win easy. Saskatchewan increased its lead to 26-17 by the end of the third quarter only to have Winnipeg take a 27-26 advantage opening the fourth quarter scoring 10 unanswered points.
    Brett Lauther closed the contest booting his fifth and six field goals of the game to give the Roughriders a 32-27 victory.
    Now riding a four game winning streak, the Roughriders improved to 7-4 to sit with the second best record overall in the CFL, if you go off winning percentage. The Bombers fell to 5-7 having dropped their last four in a row.
    Even when the wins are piling up for the Roughriders, it feels like they are always facing challenges. Saskatchewan’s starting quarterback Zack Collaros was forced to leave the game early in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit from Bombers defensive back Jeff Hecht.
    Collaros, who had found his stride in the current campaign, was placed under concussion protocol. He missed four games earlier this season due to a concussion injury.
    Roughriders star defensive back Ed Gainey went down a short time later with a leg injury.
    If both players miss any significant time, that alone might halt the Roughriders winning streak.
Zach Collaros left Saturday’s game due to injury.
    At the moment, it is too early to tell if either will play this coming Saturday, when the Roughriders host the Ottawa Redblacks (6-5) at 7:30 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium.
    Still, the Roughriders found a way to win namely due to the fact their defence came up with all sorts of big plays. The Roughriders defence forced Nichols and Bombers backup quarterback Chris Streveler to throw a combined five interceptions.
    Jefferson and Eguavoen had sacks to go along with the interceptions they respectively returned for touchdowns. Defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy had nine tackles and two interceptions to aid the Roughriders cause.
    Running back and former University of Auburn Tigers star Tre Mason paced the Roughriders offence carrying the ball 20 times for 117 yards and catching two passes for 13 yards.
    While the Roughriders latest win came via a crazy fashion, the CFL showed on Saturday how insane it can be.
    The Hamilton Tiger-Cats won their third in a row downing the Argonauts in Toronto 36-25. Hamilton improved to 6-5 to sit in a tie for first place in the East Division with the Redblacks. The Argonauts fell to 3-8 with the loss.
    Tigers-Cats starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli completed 18-of-25 passes for 307 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. This season, Masoli has passed for 300 or more yards nine times to equal a team record for most 300 yard passing games in one season set in 2013 by Henry Burris.
    In Edmonton, the host Eskimos downed the Calgary Stampeders in a classic CFL shootout 48-42. The Stampeders, who remain first overall in the CFL with a 9-2 mark, committed seven turnovers and still had a chance to win that contest.
HC and GM Chris Jones and the Roughriders have won four straight.
    The Eskimos, who improved to 7-5, led 21-7 at one point in the first quarter and were up 48-28 going into the fourth quarter and almost ended up losing.
    The Stampeders scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and had receiver Juwan Brescacin been able to hold on to a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the fourth quarter, Calgary would have likely escaped with victory depending if the possible ensuing convert was successful.
    Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 25-of-46 passes for 491 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in that loss. Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly connected on 30-of-44 passes for 397 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the win.
    In the CFL, it doesn’t matter what record a team has entering any particular contest. Each team has enough playmakers to pull out victory on any given night.
    That is the enduring aspect that helps to make the CFL great and days like Saturday’s triple header are intriguing to watch.

“Cool cops” want it that way

    I have to give you the reader a big thanks if you are reading this right now after seeing the above tweet.
    The Saskatoon Police Service gave the public a really sweet and fun video here. Down in the United States, police forces down there had been putting together videos on lip sync challenges.
    After receiving requests from some in the community to possibly get involved, the Saskatoon Police Service dropped this video on their Facebook page at 10 a.m. on Friday. It is a lip sync video to the song “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.
    Within about two hours, the Facebook post of the video had over 83,000 views. At about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, the video has piled up over 1.4-million views on Facebook and over 20,000 views on YouTube.
    The video is great because it shows the members of the Saskatoon Police Service in a lighter and humorous mood. Actually, the members of the Saskatoon Police Service are pretty good when it comes to socializing with the public, and the video helps make them feel that much more approachable.
    The YouTube post of the video is below.

Schlenker earns full time NHL referee spot, other notes

Chris Schlenker waves off a goal in the 2016 WHL playoffs.
    Chris Schlenker earned another huge milestone recently in his career as a hockey referee.
    The alum of the WHL’s Regina Pats and Prince Albert Raiders was promoted full time to the NHL ranks as first reported by on Aug. 31. Schlenker was brought on as a full-time professional referee to work games in both the NHL and AHL before the start of the 2016-17 season.
    He made his professional debut on Oct. 17, 2015 working an AHL game between the Toronto Marlies and the Albany Devils. On Oct. 24, 2016, Schlenker made his NHL debut in Montreal as the host Canadiens took on the Philadelphia Flyers.
    The 34-year-old product from Medicine Hat, Alta., has worked 59 NHL games since become a full-time professional official. He refereed in the AHL’s 2017 Calder Cup finals.
    During his days as a player, Schlenker, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 198 pounds, was a tough defensive defenceman. From 2000 to 2005, he appeared in 284 WHL regular season games split between the Pats and Raiders posting 25 goals, 67 assists and 718 penalty minutes.
    After playing less than a season of professional hockey in Germany, Schlenker joined the Medicine Hat Police Service and became a member of the K9 unit.
    As a member of the police service, Schlenker took up officiating. He quickly worked his way up the hockey ranks and won the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy as the top official in the WHL following for the 2015-16 season. He worked the WHL finals and the Memorial Cup that season as well.
    At that time, Schlenker completed his fifth season as a hockey referee.
    Now entering his eight season as a referee, Schlenker has built a reputation for being solid at that craft. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he spent a number of seasons working in the NHL ranks.
  • The Saskatoon Blades downed the Prince Albert Raiders 4-3 after a tiebreaking shootout in a WHL pre-season match at The Legends Centre in Warman, Sask., on Saturday night. Kirby Dach, Michael Farren and Brad Goethals netted singles for the Blades in regulation, while Spencer Moe, Kody McDonald and Lane Kirk replied with singles for the Raiders in regulation. Goethals and Farren had the only tallies in the tiebreaking shootout. Koen MacInnes made 35 saves over 65 minutes in goal for the Blades (5-0). Donovan Buskey turned away 33 shots in goal for the Raiders (0-2-0-1).
  • The University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team blanked the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 5-0 in a neutral site U Sports pre-season tilt at the Fairview Arena in Swift Current, Sask., on Saturday night. Nicole Fry, Kennedy Brown, Bailee Bourassa, Shyan Elias and Leah Bohlken all had singles for the Huskies. Jasey Book and Camryn Drever split the shutout in goal for U of S.
  • On Friday night, the U of Saskatchewan Huskies football team improved to 2-0 downing the U of Manitoba Bisons 48-46 in a shootout in Winnipeg. Huskies quarterback Kyle Siemens completed 24-of-35 passes for 306 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. The Bisons fell to 0-2 following the U Sports regular season contest.
  • The U of Regina Rams stomped the U of Alberta Golden Bears 51-13 in a U Sports regular season football clash in Edmonton on Friday night. Rams quarterback Noah Picton completed 32-41 passes for 449 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Rams improved to 1-1, while the Golden Bears fell to 0-2.
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