Friday, 30 November 2018

Huskies withstand Golden Bears trash, win rivalry clash in OT

The Huskies and Golden Bears players engaged in numerous battles Friday.
    Logan McVeigh delivered a sweet and satisfying end to a bitter rivalry game for his University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team.
    On Friday night at Merlis Belsher Place, the Huskies built a 3-1 lead on their “forever rivals” the University of Alberta Golden Bears only to see the visitors rally back to force overtime in a U Sports regular season contest. Golden Bears right-winger Grayson Pawlenchuk banged home the equalizer at the left side of the Huskies net with 2.4 seconds to play in the third period forcing a 3-3 tie.
    Just 72 seconds into overtime, McVeigh roofed home the winner for the Huskies from the left slot in the U of A zone to send the 2,089 spectators at the new U of S home rink into a joyful celebration over the 4-3 final score in favour of the home side.
Logan McVeigh scored the OT winner for the Huskies.
    McVeigh’s winner allowed the Huskies, who are rated third in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, to improve their winning streak to an impressive 13 games and continue to sit first in the Canada West Conference with a 14-1 record.
    The Golden Bears, who are rated second in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, saw their seven game winning streak come to an end as their record moved to 11-3-1 to remain second in Canada West.
    The Huskies battle with the Golden Bears, who are the defending U Sports national champions, was a testy one.
    The two sides often talk about respect for one another in the week leading up to their games, but that talk is unable to hide the visible dislike on the ice.
    On the opening faceoff, Golden Bears ultra-pest left-winger Trevor Cox was chirping Huskies right-winger Levi Cable in an attempt to get Cable off his game.
    From that point, Cox and a few other U of A players did their best to antagonize Huskies fifth-year captain Jesse Forsberg with trash talk and numerous little shots after the whistle.
Golden Bears LW Trevor Cox hits Huskies RW Carson Stadnyk.
    Opponents of the Huskies have often tried to rekindle an over aggressive mean streak Forsberg once had, but as has been the case over the last three seasons, the Huskies star offensive-defenceman didn’t let the shenanigans get the best of him.
    In one of the stranger exchanges Forsberg had with the Golden Bears players, he was given an unsportsmanlike penalty for a dive after taking a cheap shot crosscheck long after the whistle from U of A defenceman Ryan Rehill late in the second period.
    Another battle on the ice saw Golden Bears defenceman Ben Carroll often mix it up with Huskies hard-working right-winger Parker Thomas. Carroll got away with drilling Thomas from behind early in the third period.
    The Huskies were dishing out their share of shots too.
    With just over seven minutes remaining in the second period, Huskies right-winger Carson Stadnyk bowled over Golden Bears netminder Zack Sawchenko on a rush into the offensive zone.
Golden Bears D Ryan Rehill drops Huskies captain Jesse Forsberg.
    Stadnyk received a high cross check from Cox in retaliation that was not penalized.
    Late in the third period, Huskies rugged first-year defenceman Evan Fiala nailed Golden Bears fifth-year left-winger Stephane Legault from behind in the offensive zone.
    The extra-curricular activities added spice to the game.
    Still, the first 15 minutes of Friday’s encounter kind of started slow as both teams seemed to be feeling each other out.
    The Huskies got on the board at the 10:09 mark of the opening frame, when McVeigh stole the puck just inside the U of A blue-line from a Golden Bears player and  fed a pass to linemate Jaimen Yakubowski, who put a backhand shot past Sawchenko for a 1-0 lead.
Huskies LW Collin Shirley stares down Golden Bears LW Stephane Legault.
    The Golden Bears drew even at 1-1 just 77 seconds into the second, when Cox converted a backdoor feed from linemate Luke Philp, while working on the power play.
    Just over two minutes later, the Huskies went ahead 2-1, when left-winger Alex Forsberg connected on a backdoor feed from Stadnyk on a U of S power-play chance.
    Only 69 seconds after Forsberg’s goal, Cable sniped home a bad angle shot past Sawchenko to give the Huskies a 3-1 lead.
    The Golden Bears actually worked on five more power-play chances in the second period after Cox scored with the man advantage, but Huskies netminder Taran Kozun made a number of key saves to keep the visitors at bay.
Alex Forsberg had a goal for the Huskies on Friday night.
    U of A cut the Huskies lead to 3-2 with a short-handed marker from sophomore centre Steven Owre at the 8:55 mark of the third. That set the stage for the dramatics at the end of the third and in overtime.
    Centre Kohl Bauml had assists on three of the Huskies goals.
    Kozun made 28 stops to pick up the win in goal for the Huskies.   
    Sawchenko turned away 19 shots to take the overtime setback in the Golden Bears net.
    While Friday’s game had its rivalry sparks, the Huskies did a decent job of keep their composure against the Golden Bears agitators.
    When the dust settled, that likely made the biggest difference in U of S coming out with a win. The Dogs have won two out of three head-to-head encounters with U of A this season.
The Huskies celebrate their OT win over the Golden Bears.
    The Huskies will try to duplicate and better their effort on Saturday, when they host the Golden Bears again at 7 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place.

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