Friday, 22 February 2019

Huskies hammer Cougars

Men’s hockey Dogs open post-season with impressive 5-1 romp

Alex Forsberg had two goals and two assists for the Huskies on Friday.
    The red hot University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team stayed red hot in their U Sports post-season opener.
    Riding a 10-game winning streak to end the regular season to lock up first place in the Canada West Conference, the Huskies rolled to an impressive 5-1 victory over the Mount Royal University Cougars in Game 1 of a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series on Friday night at Merlis Belsher Place. U of S will try to sweep the series in Game 2, which is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place.
    The Huskies came out of the gates quickly to stun the visiting Cougars.
The Huskies celebrate Alex Forsberg’s second goal on Friday.
    At the 3:45 mark of the first period, fourth-year winger Levi Cable scored the first Huskies post-season goal in their brand new rink to take a 1-0 lead.
    The hosts expanded their lead to 2-0 at the 6:19 mark of the first when sophomore winger Alex Forsberg scored a power-play goal on a four-on-one rush.
    From that point, the Cougars never really got into the game. The Huskies held 14-6 edge in shots on goal going into the first intermission.
    They proceeded to play the bulk of the second period in Mount Royal’s zone.
    Fifth-year right-winger Parker Thomas scored at the 4:36 mark of the second to give the Huskies a 3-0 advantage. Forsberg banged home a gritty goal from the front of the Cougars net for his second tally of the night giving the Huskies a 4-0 lead at the 13:03 mark of the second to delight the 1,580 spectators in attendance.
Levi Cable scored twice for the Huskies on Friday.
    Besides his two tallies, Forsberg picked up assists on the Huskies first and third goals for a huge four-point night. He was also a plus-three in the plus-minus department.
    After 40 minutes, the Huskies had a 4-0 lead on the scoreboard and a 30-12 edge in shots on goal.
Had this game been a boxing match, the referee might have stopped the proceedings at that point in the contest. The Huskies were that good.
    Cable roofed home his second tally of the night at the 4:10 mark of the third to put the Huskies up 5-0.
    Mount Royal’s high point of the night came with 4:11 remaining in the third, when sophomore forward Bradley Kennedy scored on the power play to end the shutout bid of Huskies star netminder Taran Kozun.
Parker Thomas scored early in the second period on Friday.
    Kozun made 19 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Huskies. Riley Morris turned away 36 shots to take the loss in goal for the Cougars.
    Playing their inaugural season in the newly built Merlis Belsher Place, the Huskies, who are rated third in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, have had a special campaign posting their best regular season record in team history at 25-3. They entered their series with the Cougars as big favourites.
    Mount Royal finished fifth in Canada West with a 12-11-5 mark and went on the road to Vancouver, B.C., to down the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 2-1 in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series last weekend.
Huskies captain Jesse Forsberg, left, sizes up a scoring chance.
    The Huskies play on the ice this season has looked as good as their impressive new home rink. They can roll all four of their forward lines and not lose a step.
    Their starting six on defence make up one of the best blue-lines you will see in U Sports. While Kozan has received most of the accolades with an impressive season in goal, back-up netminder Travis Child is fairly accomplished in his own right.
    When you saw the Huskies play on Friday, it was easy to see why four of their players were named Canada West Conference all-stars, while one of the first-year players cracked the all-rookie team. Kozun, captain and star offensive defenceman Jesse Forsberg and forward Carson Stadnyk were named to the first all-star team. Winger Kohl Bauml cracked the second all-star team, while defenceman Gordie Ballhorn made the all-rookie team.
    At the moment, the Huskies are one win away from returning to the Canada West Championship series and the U Sports national championship tournament, the University Cup.
    One has to wonder how far will their roll go?

Playoff berth clinch put on hold for Blades

Max Gerlach scored for the Blades on Friday.
    The Saskatoon Blades hopes to lock up a berth in the WHL playoffs were put on hold by the live-or-die sprint the Brandon Wheat Kings are on at the moment.
    On Friday, the Blades had a chance to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2013, if they earned a regulation time win against Wheat Kings in a WHL regular season clash at Westoba Place in Brandon. The Wheat Kings romped to a 6-2 victory before 3,875 spectators to erase any thoughts the Saskatoon side had of celebrating a playoff berth.
    The win was the sixth straight for the Wheat Kings, who improved to 29-22-3-4. They now hold the second wildcard spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with a two-point standings lead on the Red Deer Rebels (29-23-4-1). Red Deer has a game in hand on Brandon.
    The Blades, who are rated 10th in the CHL’s Top 10 rankings, saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end. Going into Friday’s clash with the Wheat Kings, the Blades were riding a stretch of earning standings points in 13 straight contests posting 11 wins and two extra time setbacks over that stretch. They still sit third overall in the WHL standings with a 37-14-8 mark.
    Saskatoon started Friday’s game with optimism taking a 1-0 just 2:18 into the first period on Ryan Hughes’s 24th tally of the season.
    Near the midway point of the first, the Blades had a glorious chance to go up by two goals, when veteran left-winger Gary Haden was awarded a penalty shot. Haden was stopped by Wheat Kings netminder Jiri Patera, and that save seemed to change the feel of the contest.
    Brandon rolled off five straight goals to go ahead 5-1.
    Ridly Greig and Zach Wytinck netted singles before the first period ended to give the Wheat Kings a 2-1 advantage. Luka Burzan, who scored his 35th goal of the season, Caiden Daley and captain Stelio Mattheos, who potted his 40th goal of the campaign, had singles in the second to put Brandon up 5-1.
    Overage right-winger Max Gerlach netted his 37th goal of the season for the Blades at the 4:47 mark of the third to cut Brandon’s lead to 5-2.
    Ben McCartney netted a short-handed goal for Brandon shortly after the midway point of the third to round out the game’s scoring.
    Nolan Maier started and took the setback in goal for the Blades turning away 17-of-22 shots sent his way. Dorrin Luding played the third period in relief for Saskatoon and stopped five-of-six shot sent his way.
    Patera turned away 37 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Wheat Kings.
    The Blades return home on Saturday to host the Kootenay Ice (11-38-7-2) at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre. Saskatoon can clinch a playoff berth on Saturday night with a win and a regulation loss by either the Wheat Kings or Rebels that same night.
    The Wheat Kings travel to Prince Albert on Saturday to face the WHL leading Raiders (48-8-1-2) at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. The Rebels host the Edmonton Oil Kings (33-18-4-4) at 7 p.m. local time at the Enmax Centrium.

Scott, Leason power Raiders to shutout win over Ice

Brett Leason had three assists for the Raiders on Friday.
    Ian Scott and Brett Leason made big returns to the Prince Albert Raiders lineup.
   On Friday before 2,380 spectators at the Art Hauser Centre, Scott and Leason both came off the injury list to help the Raiders blank the Kootenay Ice 4-0. Scott, who is the team’s star netminder, made 21 saves to pick up his fifth shutout of the season. Leason, who is the team’s star right-winger, picked up assists on three of the Raiders goals.
    Both Scott and Leason last dressed for the Raiders in their 8-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary on Feb. 8. Since that contest, both were out with lower body injuries.
    Against the Ice on Friday, the Raiders, who are rated second in the CHL’s Top 10 rankings, built a 2-0 lead after the first period and held a 3-0 lead after the second frame. They rounded out the game’s scoring with a final tally in the third to improve their WHL leading record to 48-8-1-2.
    Overage centre Sean Montgomery scored twice for the Raiders, while captain Brayden Pachal and Ozzy Wiesblatt had singles.
    Curtis Meger turned away 26 shots to take the loss in goal for the Ice (11-38-7-2).
    The Raiders return to action on Saturday, when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
    The Ice travel to Saskatoon on Saturday to face the Blades at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.

Pandas put Huskies on the ropes in Canada West semi

Jessica Vance made 25 saves in goal for the Huskies on Friday.
    The U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team faces a major challenge in trying to keep their season a live.
    On Friday in Edmonton, Alta., the Huskies were blanked 2-0 by the host U of Alberta Pandas at the Clare Drake Arena in Game 1 of a best-of-three Canada West Conference semifinal series. The Huskies need to win Game 2 on Saturday in Edmonton to remain alive in the U Sports playoffs and force a series deciding Game 3 on Sunday in Edmonton.
    The Pandas, who are rated first in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, jumped out to a 1-0 lead, when star fourth-year forward Alex Poznikoff scored at the 1:37 mark of the first period. Amy Boucher gave the Pandas a 2-0 advantage scoring with 4:45 remaining in the third period.
    Kirsten Chamberlin made 17 saves to pick up the shutout win in goal for the Pandas. Jessica Vance turned away 25 shots to take the setback in goal for the Huskies.
    The Pandas finished first in Canada West with a 23-5 record and won their last seven straight regular season games heading into the post-season.
    The Huskies finished fourth in Canada West with a 16-10-1-1 record. They eliminated the Mount Royal University Cougars 2-1 in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series last weekend to advance to play the Pandas.
    The Pandas have won their last three games including action in the regular season and playoffs with the Huskies by identical 2-0 scores. All three of those contests were played at the Clare Drake Arena.
    Overall, the Pandas have downed the Huskies in their last four straight encounters including action in the regular season and playoffs.
    On Wednesday, Huskies physical offensive-defender Leah Bohlken was named a first team Canada West all-star.

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