Friday, 15 November 2019

Huskies specials teams deny steal attempt by Bisons’ Brown

Carson Stadnyk (#16) scored in the first period for the Huskies on Friday.
    The special teams of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team ensured University of Manitoba Bisons rookie netminder Tyler Brown didn’t commit highway robbery.
    On Friday playing before 1,355 spectators at Merlis Belsher Place, the Huskies scored twice on the power play and once short-handed to down the Bisons 4-1 in a U Sports regular season clash. The win was the third straight for the Huskies, who improved to 6-3-2.
    The Huskies could have won in even more convincing fashion had it not been for the work of Brown, who turned away 47-of-50 shots fired his way. The final U of S tally came into an empty net.
    Brown, who stands 6-feet and weighs 182 pounds, starred for the WHL’s Regina Pats from 2014 to 2018, and he backstopped them to the WHL championship series in 2017, where they fell 4-2 in the best-of-seven set to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Donovan Neuls scored a short-handed goal for the Huskies.
    On Jan. 10, 2018, Brown was dealt to the Saskatoon Blades in a blockbuster trade and finished out his last half season in the WHL playing for “The Bridge City Bunch.”
    He joined his hometown Bisons before the start of last season but was a medical redshirt for the campaign after undergoing surgery to fix a nagging injury from his time in the WHL.
    Against the Huskies on Friday, Brown looked ever y bit the netminder that helped the Pats finish first overall in the 2016-17 WHL regular season and come up two wins short of a WHL title.
    Early in the first period, Huskies winger Carson Stadnyk burst off the right wing across the face of the Bisons net, but his shot was turned away by a kick save from Brown.
Tyler Brown makes one of his 47 saves for the Bisons.
    That was the first of many stellar saves that came from the 22-year-old Bisons puck stopper.
Friday’s game also got off to a really rough start.
    Shortly after Brown’s save on Stadnyk, Bisons defenceman Carter Doerksen drove his shoulder into the jaw of Huskies forward Carter Folk in open ice in the U of M zone. The hit started a scrum.
Doerksen was given a major penalty for checking to the head and a game misconduct. The hit will automatically be reviewed by the Canada West Conference for a possible suspension.
    Folk was helped off the ice and didn’t return.
Taran Kozun makes one of his 19 saves in goal for the Huskies.
    Near the end of that five minute power play at the 10:46 mark of the opening frame, Stadnyk netted his seventh of the campaign from the right side of the Bisons goal on a net scramble.
    The Huskies proceeded to go up 2-0 with 24.1 seconds remaining in first when centre Donovan Neuls sped into the Bisons zone on the left wing and ripped a shot top corner of Brown.
    The host side needed both of those tallies.
    In the second period, Brown turned away all 14 shots fired his way. He stopped Huskies left-winger Collin Shirley, who had a chance all alone in front of the U of M goal.
    Brown also robbed Huskies centre Kohl Bauml on a backhand chance and sucked up a shot from the left slot coming from Huskies second-year left-wing Layne Young.
    Brown’s heroics allowed the Bisons to put a scare into the Huskies in the third period.
Logan McVeigh, left, and Taran Kozun mark the Huskies win on Friday.
    The visitors broke through on the scoreboard at the 4:10 mark of the third period, when winger Devon Skoleski tucked home a shot from close in to cut the Huskies edge to 2-1.
    Moments after that tally, Bisons forward Geordie Keane was given a double minor for high sticking which helped kill momentum for the visitors. Near the start of the second half of that power play, the Bisons went down two men as forward Jonah Wasylak was penalized for throwing his stick.
    On the ensuing two-man advantage, Huskies right-winger Levi Cable roofed home an insurance goal to put the Huskies up 3-1.
    Huskies centre Kohl Bauml rounded out the game’s scoring with an empty-net tally with 2:13 remaining in the third.
    Taran Kozun stopped 19 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Huskies. Brown’s stellar play couldn’t prevent the Bison from falling to 5-5-0-1.
    The two sides go at it again Saturday at 7 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place.

Young cancer survivor drops ceremonial faceoff with Smuks

Joel Bachman, centre, drops the puck for the ceremonial faceoff.
    Friday’s U Sports regular season game at Merlis Belsher Place was the annual “Huskies Fight Cancer” night for the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team, and they had a special young guest on hand.
    A 10-year-old goalie named Joel Bachman took part in a team practice this week. Bachman was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age six, and he underwent extensive treatments and is now cancer free.
    At practice, Bachman took part in drills along with Huskies star starting goalie Taran Kozun and second-year backup Travis Child.
    On Friday, Bachman got to go to centre ice to drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff before the Huskies clash with the U of Manitoba Bisons at Merlis Belsher Place. He was joined by parents of late Huskies hard-working glue-guy forward Cody Smuk in Marty and Darla Smuk.
    Cody passed away in June of 2015 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
    Before Bachman dropped the puck, the 1,355 spectators in attendance and players, coaches and staffers from the Huskies and Bisons displayed signs that had the words, “I Fight For” written on top.
    Below those words was a white space to allow everyone to write a name on their respective sign.
    After those signs were displayed, Bachman dropped the puck for the Faceoff.
    During the game, the Huskies had a number of fundraisers going on to raise funds for Choc ’La Cure, which raises funds for equipment at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.
    The Huskies claimed a 4-1 victory in Friday’s contest with the Bisons.

Vance hits rare heights with 30 career wins with Huskies

Jessica Vance picked up her 30th career regular season win on Friday.
    Jessica Vance had a huge milestone night playing against her former U Sports squad.
    On Friday night at the Wayne Fleming Arena in Winnipeg, Man., Vance made 14 saves to back the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team to a 1-0 victory over the host U of Manitoba Bisons. With Friday’s victory, Vance became the third netminder in the history of the Huskies women’s program to win 30 career regular season games.
    Vance, who is from Prince Albert, Sask., spent the 2015-16 campaign with the Bisons as a medical red shirt before sitting out a year to join the Huskies for the 2017-18 campaign. She never played a game in goal with the Bisons.
    Since joining the Huskies, the graduate of the Prince Albert Northern Bears female midget AAA team quickly rose to star status being named the Canada West player of the year in 2017-18 helping the Huskies earn a berth at U Sports nationals.
    Vance is still the all-time leader for the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League in career wins (48) and games played (91) in regular season action.
    In the history of the Huskies women’s hockey program, Vanessa Frederick and Cassidy Hendricks both hit the 30-career win barrier with the squad.
    Frederick played for the Huskies from 2007 to 2010 and in 2011-12 posting a 31-21 record, a 2.30 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and five shutouts in regular season play.
    Hendricks suited up for the Huskies from 2012 to 2017 posting a 57-44-13 record, a 2.04 goals against average, a .922 save percentage and 12 shutouts in regular season play.
    Vance, who is in her third season with the Huskies, has posted a 30-12-5 record, a 1.10 goals against average, a .952 save percentage and 17 shutouts in regular season play.
    The 22-year-old is the Huskies all-time leader in career regular season shutouts, and she is tied with former Bisons goaltender Stacey Corfield for the third most career regular season shutouts in the history of the Canada West Conference. Corfield collected her 17 shutouts playing five seasons for the Bisons from 2005 to 2010.
    Offensive defender Leah Bohlken scored on a second period power play for the Huskies to account for the lone tally in the contest.
    Vance made a diving paddle stick stop with a 60 seconds to play in the third period on Bisons rookie forward Kate Gregoire to preserve the win.
    The Huskies improved to 6-3-2 with the victory.
    Erin Fargey turned away 29 shots to take the setback in goal for the Bisons (2-8-1).
    The two sides go at it again on Saturday at the Wayne Fleming Arena .

Hilltops’ Pingue named CJFL defensive player of the year

Jadyn Pingue was named the CJFL’s top defensive player.
    The individual accolades keep piling up for fifth-year Saskatoon Hilltops middle linebacker Jadyn Pingue, and latest award bears the name of one of the team’s all-time great.
    At the CJFL’s awards banquet on Friday in Langley, B.C., Pingue took home the Larry Wruck most outstanding defensive player of the year award. Wruck was one of the Hilltops all-time greatest linebackers suiting up for the club in the early 1980s before moving on to be a standout with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos from 1985 to 1996.
    Pingue’s award win marks two straight years a Hilltops player has taken the CJFL’s Larry Wruck most outstanding defensive player of the year award. Last year, Hilltops linebacker Cody Peters won the CJFL’s most outstanding defensive player honours in his final year of junior football eligibility.
    The 2019 campaign has been an outstanding one for Pingue. On Wednesday, he was named a CJFL all-Canadian all-star. The fifth-year veteran was named the most outstanding defensive player and most outstanding linebacker for the Prairie Football Conference earlier in the post-season.
    Appearing in seven out of the Hilltops eight regular season games, Pingue posted 33.5 total tackles, one pass knockdown, one fumble recovery and one interception
    On Saturday, the Hilltops, who are 11-0 overall, will face the host Langley Rams, who are 12-0 overall, in the CJFL championship game – the Canadian Bowl – at McLeod Stadium (3 p.m. Saskatchewan time, 92.9 The Bull).
    The Hilltops are trying to win an unprecedented sixth straight CJFL title, and they thumped the Rams 58-21 in last year’s Canadian Bowl in Saskatoon.

Stars alum Messier officially inks with Cornell

Ashley Messier in action with the Stars last April.
    Ashley Messier made her university hockey intentions official on Friday.
    In September of 2017 at age 15, Messier verbally committed to play for the Cornell University Big Red women’s hockey team in the NCAA ranks. At that time, Messier was entering her second season with the Saskatoon Stars female midget AAA team.
    Now playing for the Selects Hockey Academy in Rochester, New York, for her Grade 12 year, Messier officially signed with the Big Red on Friday, and will join the powerhouse NCAA program at the start of next season.
    From 2016 to 2019, Messier played three seasons with the Stars piling up 11 goals and 58 assists for 69 points in 84 regular season games as an offensive defender.
    She helped the Stars reach the championship game of the Esso Cup female midget AAA national championship tournament in April of 2018. The Stars fell 2-1 to the Alberta-based St. Albert Slash, but Messier was named the top defender of the tournament.
    Last season with the Stars, Messier, who is from Wilcox, Sask., recorded five goals and 27 assist to help the Stars post their best regular season record ever at 27-1 to top the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League standings.
    The Stars again advanced to Esso Cup and finished fourth. Messier again captured honours as the event’s top defender.
    Messier was named the Colleen Sostorics top defender of the SFMAAAHL last season and a first team SFMAAAHL all-star. She was a second SFMAAAHL all-star in 2017-18.
    Messier, who stands 5-foot-3, helped Team Saskatchewan advance to the final of the National Women’s under-18 Champion held last Saturday in Winkler, Man. Team Saskatchewan fell in the title game to Team Ontario Red 3-1.
    The silver medal win was Saskatchewan’s best finish at the event that contains provincial under-18 women’s hockey teams from across the country. The 17-year-old Messier was named the most valuable player of the tournament.
    The Big Red roster contains Messier’s former Stars teammate in offensive defender Willow Slobodzian.

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