Saturday, 29 February 2020

“Ironman” delivers, Huskies regain Canada West crown

The Huskies raise the Dr. W.G. Hardy Trophy as Canada West champs.
    The “Ironman” came up clutch for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team.
    Fifth-year right-winger Levi Cable fired home a pair of power-play goals to give the Huskies a 3-1 victory over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in Game 2 of the Canada West Championship series before a record crowd of 2,667 spectators at Merlis Belsher Place on Saturday.
    With the win, the Huskies swept the best-of-three series 2-0. They captured their first Canada West title since 2016 and 18th conference title in team history, with 11 of those wins coming in the conference’s modern era that started in 1972.
Levi Cable scored twice for the Huskies on Saturday.
    “It was big,” said Cable. “Going into this year that is all we wanted.
    “This was our goal. I’m glad we have another one coming up, but this one was a stop on the way. I’m glad we got it.”
    After raising the Dr. W.G. Hardy Trophy as Canada West champions, the next one coming up that Cable refers to is of course the U Sports men’s hockey nationals.
    Both the Huskies and Thunderbirds are guaranteed berths to the David Johnston University Cup, which is the U Sports men’s hockey national championship tournament. The U Sports national championship tournament is played in an elite-eight format, and it runs from March 12 to 15 in Halifax, N.S.
    In the series clinching win over the Thunderbirds, Cable played in his 175th consecutive game for the Huskies including action in the U Sports regular season and post-season. He has never missed game in his career with the Huskies.
Levi Cable celebrates his first of two goals on Saturday.
    The 25-year-old’s streak includes 140 regular season games, 23 contests in the Canada West playoffs and 12 games at the David Johnston University Cup.
    Besides skating in a milestone contest in his streak, Cable was pumped to exit his final home U Sports game with a win in front of a loud and appreciative crowd, which included a raucous student section. The Huskies have been playing out of Merlis since the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
    “This was the loudest I have heard this place,” said Cable. “The student section was really going.
    “It was a lot of fun to play in front of. I’m glad my last game here was in front of these guys.”
    The Huskies drew first blood at the 7:33 mark of the opening frame when right-winger Carson Stadnyk popped home the rebound from his own shot after receiving a pass from Jared Dmytriw.
Part of the record crowd at Merlis reacts to a Huskies goal.
    The host side expanded their edge to 2-0 about five minutes later when Cable popped home a power-play goal from the left side of the Thunderbirds net. Cable benefitted from a little luck as he received a backdoor pass from Stadnyk that was ticked off the stick of left-winger Collin Shirley.
    The Huskies could have exited the first period with a bigger advantage had it not been for a number of stellar saves from Thunderbirds star netminder Rylan Toth, who made 13 stops in the opening 20 minutes.
    Huskies star goalie Taran Kozun, who was named both the Canada West player of the year and goaltender of the year, gave huge props to his counterpart in Toth.
Carson Stadnyk scored the Huskies first goal.
    “He (Toth) played one heck of series,” said Kozun. “I have to give him credit.
    “If he does that at nationals, he is going to give the other teams there lots of troubles. It is a big battle (going head-to-head with Toth), and it is fun coming out on the winning side.”
    In the final 10 minutes of the second, the Thunderbirds started to melt down taking 28 minutes in penalties in that span of time including two misconducts 10 minutes in length.
    The Huskies looked to have gone ahead 3-0 with 3:31 to play in the second on goal from rookie forward Jeff Faith, but that goal was disallowed due to incidental contact on the netminder as a player was pushed into Toth.
    The Thunderbirds had to argue to get the goal disallowed. The argument included someone from the Thunderbirds bench throwing a water bottle on to the ice.
    While Faith’s goal was disallowed, the Thunderbirds team bench was given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Rylan Toth jumps on a loose puck for the Thunderbirds.
    On that power-play opportunity, Cable netted his second goal of the contest firing home the rebound of a shot taken from Huskies defenceman Gordie Ballhorn with 2:37 remaining in the second stanza.
    “The emotions of the game sometimes they get the better of you, and sometimes it doesn’t,” said Kozun. “It has happened to us in the past, where the emotions take over.
    “It was nice to see us not on that side this time.”
    As the game went along, Kozun said the home crowd gave his side an edge.
    “Winning it today in front of all these fans, it is surreal,” said Kozun. “It is going to be a fun night, and I hope the boys enjoy it.”
The Huskies bench reacts to winning the Canada West title.
    The Thunderbirds finally got on the scoreboard with 3:16 remaining in the third period thanks to a power-play marker coming from the stick of left-winger Jake Kryski. While that tally cut the Huskies lead to 3-1, it was too little too late for the visitors.
    Kozun made 17 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Huskies. Toth turned away 26 shots to take the setback in net for the Thunderbirds.
    Huskies head coach Dave Adolph was pleased his team’s four players in their fifth-years of eligibility in Cable, Kohl Bauml, Andrew Johnson and Logan McVeigh were able to win on conference title in their final home game.
The student section reacts to the Huskies Canada West title win.
    “Andrew Johnson, Logan McVeigh, Kohl Bauml and Levi (Cable), they have had five special years,” said Adolph. “These kids have gone to the Canada West final all five years they’ve played.
    “They’ve had dynamic goals each and every year I think with the exception of maybe A.J. He has been more of a penalty killer the last two years. He was on the forefront when he first started.
    “You live and die with your seniors, and I don’t care what sport it is. Ours have been good.”
    Adolph said it doesn’t come as a surprise that Cable, Bauml, Johnson and McVeigh were members of the last Huskies team to win a Canada West title at the squad’s former long time home in the ancient Rutherford Rink and are members of the first Huskies team to win a conference title in the squad’s new home in Merlis.
Merlis Belsher, second from left, presents the championship trophy.
    “That is just the character of those kids,” said Adolph. “They’ve been good since they’ve been here in everything.
    “They’re outstanding students. They are what Huskies should be, really they are.”
    The Huskies entered the series with the Thunderbirds as decided favourites finishing second in the Canada West Conference with a 22-4-2 record and being rated second in the U Sports Top 10 rankings. U of S has won 15 straight games including action in the regular season and playoffs.
    The Thunderbirds have enjoyed a Cinderella run to get to this point after finishing fifth in Canada West with a 9-14-4-1 mark. They cracked the U Sports Top 10 rankings this week at the ninth position.
Captain Tanner Lishchynsky takes a spin with the Dr. W.G. Hardy Trophy.
    While the Huskies were the favourites, they did stumble out of the gates to start the regular season posting an 0-3-1 record. Cable said he was impressed with how his Huskies have persevered through the tough stretches to put together a great season to date.
    “At the beginning of the year when we went 0-3-1, it was looking a little bit different than years previous,” said Cable. “I’m just glad the group came together, and we put together a good run to finish the season.”
    With that in mind, Cable said he doesn’t want the run of success to end here.
The Huskies celebrate winning the Canada West championship.
    “We still have a bigger goal in mind,” said Cable. “I would like to end my five years winning a national championship.”

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Friday, 28 February 2020

Young’s tip puts Huskies a win away from Canada West title

Layne Young, middle, celebrates his winning goal for the Huskies.
    Layne Young’s first career U Sports post-season goal ended up being a huge one for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team.
    On Friday before a season high crowd of 2,281 spectators at Merlis Belsher Place, the sophomore left-winger tipped home a mid range shot from linemate Levi Cable to give the Huskies a 3-1 lead over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds at the 3:57 mark of the third period.
    The Thunderbirds cut the cap to 3-2 with a turnaround shot from sophomore left-winger Maxwell James right in front of the U of S net with 31.1 seconds to play in the third, but the visitors couldn’t find the equalizer.
    The Huskies held on to make the 3-2 score hold up as the final in Game 1 of the Canada West Championship series between the two teams. Young was pumped he could net the winner for his side.
    “It feels really good,” said Young. “It is an unbelievable feeling.
Layne Young has had a breakout season with the Huskies.
    “The atmosphere was great here tonight, so it was awesome. It was 3-1 at the time, but I guess just the way it worked out it ended up being the game winner.”
    Thanks to their victory in Game 1, the Huskies will try to close out the best-of-three set in Game 2 on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Merlis. If necessary, Game 3 is slated for Sunday at 7 p.m. at Merlis.
    After pulling to within 3-2, any further last second heroics by the Thunderbirds were stifled, when star netminder Rylan Toth was given a minor penalty for boarding inside of the final 20 seconds of the third.
    The Thunderbirds were starting out of their own zone on a rush shortly after the ensuing faceoff that resulted after cutting the Huskies edge to 3-2. Toth started skating out of his net for an extra attacker, when the puck was turned over to Cable along the right wing boards.
Layne Young is playing in lots of different situations for the Huskies.
    Toth, who is a Saskatoon product, was the closest Thunderbirds player to Cable and the puck stopper turned and nailed the fifth-year right-winger from behind into the boards. Toth was given a boarding penalty for his actions.
    Cable was playing in his 174th consecutive game for the Huskies including action in the U Sports regular season and post-season, and Young said Toth’s hit on the veteran provided some comic relief for the U of S side.
    “We were poking fun at Levi a little bit,” said Young. “It is not too often you get hit by a goalie, especially from behind, so it was kind of funny.
    “I was on the ice. I saw it. It was quite the thing that is for sure.
    “I had never seen that before.”
    During the opening 20 minutes of Friday’s game, Toth, who is in his third year with the Thunderbirds, was doing what he does best in keeping his squad in the game as the Huskies held a 14-2 edge in shots on goal over that span of time.
Jordan Tkatch, left, celebrates scoring the first goal for the Huskies.
    The Huskies took a 1-0 edge at the 7:38 mark of the opening frame when right-winger Jordan Tkatch tapped in a backdoor feed from centre Jared Dmytriw.
    As for Huskies star netminder Taran Kozun, he had to be extremely sharp on one of the two shots he faced in the opening frame. The Nipawin, Sask., product had to make a key stop on a tipped shot from James on a UBC power play.
    The Huskies expanded their edge to 2-0 at the 12:06 of the second period, when right-winger Carson Stadnyk tapped home a backdoor feed from centre Logan McVeigh on an offensive zone rush.
Rylan Toth was penalized for making a big hit for the Thunderbirds.
    With less than four minutes to play in the second, Thunderbirds rookie left-winger Jake Kryski snuck home a shot from the left side of the Huskies goal to cut the host side’s edge to 2-1.
    That set the stage for the dramatics in the third.
    While U of S had a strong start, Huskies head coach Dave Adolph thought his side had to ultimately gut out the win.
    “It wasn’t a Picasso, and it never usually is in the playoffs,” said Adolph, whose team was outshot 21-17 through the second and third periods. “I thought that once we got the lead we started playing tentative.
    “We started playing cautious. I think every team when you get to this point you are so worried about the next five minutes. You can’t think that way.
 
Levi Cable played in his 174th consecutive game for the Huskies.
  “We learned and we lived. We will be better tomorrow.”
    Adolph was pleased to see Young net the winner.
    “He (Young) is a really skilled player,” said Adolph. “It is good.
    “Some of our young guys the more times they get out there in these situations that is just going to help our program. Layne (Young) is going to be a goody.”
    Before joining the Huskies, Young was a star in the junior A ranks piling up 86 goals, 167 assists for 253 points in 169 regular season games playing with the Battlefords North Stars from 2014 to 2018. The Frenchman Butte, Sask., product was named the MVP of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in his final campaign with the North Stars in 2017-18 after posting 35 goals and 72 assists in 57 regular season games.
    Adolph was happy Young elected to join the Huskies enrolling Agriculture and Bioresources program at the U of S.
Carson Stadnyk had the Huskies second goal on Friday.
    “He (Young) had like four or five NCAA offers,” said Adolph. “He chose to go into agriculture, because that is what his family does.
    “He is a third generation dairy farmer and farmer. It is no different than (Huskies rookie forward) Justin Ball, who is going to be a star in our league too, when he gets his chance. Junior A guys don’t get overlooked.
    “Sometimes they chose an academic route rather than a hockey route.”
    After netting one goal in six regular season games as a rookie, Young recorded eight goals, 11 assists and a plus-10 rating in the plus minus department in 27 regular season games with the Huskies as a sophomore.
Jake Kryski had the Thunderbirds first goal on Friday.
    Throughout this season, Young has played on a line with Cable and fifth-year veteran Kohl Bauml at centre. Young, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 205 pounds, has enjoyed that opportunity.
    “It has been huge,” said Young. “We’ve been together since game one of this year, so our chemistry has just built all year.
    “It is has been awesome. They are great guys to play with, and it has just been great.”
    The 22-year-old said he would love to see the Huskies four fifth-year players in Bauml, Cable, McVeigh and Andrew Johnson graduate from the program hoisting championship trophies.
    “All four of our fifth years are just unbelievable people,” said Young. “I think they deserve a championship.”
    Kozun made 21 stops to pick up the win in goal for the Huskies. Toth turned away 28 shots to take the setback in net for the Thunderbirds.
Jared Dmytriw set up the Huskies first goal on Friday.
    The Huskies entered the series as decided favourites finishing second in the Canada West Conference with a 22-4-2 record and being rated second in the U Sports Top 10 rankings. They have won 14 straight games including action in the regular season and playoffs.
    The Thunderbirds have enjoyed a Cinderella run to get to this point after finishing fifth in Canada West with a 9-14-4-1 mark. They cracked the U Sports Top 10 rankings this week at the ninth position.
    Both teams are guaranteed berths to the David Johnston University Cup, which is the U Sports men’s hockey national championship tournament. The U Sports national championship tournament is played in an elite-eight format. It runs from March 12 to 15 in Halifax, N.S.
The Huskies celebrate their victory in Game 1 of the Canada West final.
    Before looking forward to nationals, Young said he would like to see his team lock up the Canada West title series on Saturday.
    “I think the nerves might hit a little bit tomorrow,” said Young. “We just have to play our way, and I think we will be OK.”

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Rebels’ Focht a great made in Regina story

Lauren Focht is the Rebels all-time leading scorer.
    Lauren Focht keeps piling up the highlights and milestones with her elite hometown team.
    On Tuesday at Crescent Point Place in Weyburn, Focht became the all-time leading scorer in regular season for her Regina Rebels female midget AAA hockey team. The skilled forward, who turned 18-years-old in January, picked up a goal and an assist as the Rebels thumped the host Richardson Pioneer Gold Wings 8-2 in a Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season game.
    The effort gave Focht 66 goals and 56 assists for 122 points in 102 regular season games. That put Focht one point ahead of Emma Waldenberger for top spot on the Rebels all-time regular season scoring list.
    Waldenberger collected 60 goals and 61 assists for 121 points playing in 109 career regular season games for the Rebels from 2010 to 2014.
    Besides being the Rebels all-time leader in career points, Focht, who stands 5-foot-3, is also the Rebels leader in all-time career goals. Her 66 tallies ranks eighth on the SFMAAAHL all-time career regular season goals list.
Lauren Focht is the Rebels all-time leader in career goals.
    Focht’s 122 career points are good for 11th place on the SFMAAAHL’s all-time career regular season points list. Over the Rebels final three games, she has a chance to move past former Saskatoon Stars captain Lauren Zary for 10th on the SFMAAAHL’s all-time scoring list.
    Zary piled up 44 goals and 82 assists for 126 points playing 103 regular season games with the Stars from 2008 to 2012.
    Focht hasn’t just burst on the scene with the Rebels. She has produced consistent offensive numbers with the team over her four seasons never falling below 23 points in any campaign.
    This season, Focht currently sits second in team scoring with 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points. Her assist total is a career high showing her playmaking abilities can be just as good as her scoring touch around the net.
    Focht is a Rebels co-captain along with gifted offensive defender Sydney Pedersen.
Actually, Focht doesn’t actively pay attention to her personal statistics and is more focused on team success. You get the feeling she relishes the fact she gets to be one of the sparkplugs that makes the deep Rebels machine go.
    Last season, the Rebels showed they were ready to play with Canada’s best in the female midget AAA hockey ranks. 
Lauren Focht been one of the Rebels most consistent players.
    They finished second in the SFMAAAHL with a 17-7-4 record, advanced to the league championship series and fell to a powerhouse Stars club that was loaded with superstar veterans.
    The Rebels gave the Stars their only regular season loss in the 2018-19 campaign.
    With another year of experience under their collective belts, the Rebels have already locked up first place in the SFMAAAHL with an impressive 26-1-1 record and they are Canada’s top rated female midget AAA hockey team according to the My Hockey Rankings site. The Rebels last topped the SFMAAAHL standings in the 2013-14 campaign.
    The current Rebels have a drive and self-belief that is powerful and beyond the teenage years of the players.
    In Tuesday’s win over the Gold Wings, the Rebels offensive output came from a number of sources. Pedersen and Neena Brick both had two goals and an assist. Kaylee Dyer had a goal and an assist, while Megan Hayhurst and Shaelyn Myers had singles.
    Alexis Petford had a pair of assists, while Penny Bellefontaine and Jasmine Lamotte had single assists.
    Jayden Baker and Lauren Demmans both had a goal and an assist for the Gold Wings.
Lauren Focht (#22) doesn’t actively follow her personal statistics.
    Payton Schlamp made 16 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Rebels. Veteran Chloe Burt turned away 49 shots to take the setback in net for the Gold Wings, who fell to 5-22-2.
    The Rebels return to action this coming Thursday, when they host the Battlefords Sharks at 8 p.m. at the Co-operators Centre.
    Brick, who has been Focht’s linemate for much of the current campaign, leads the SFMAAAHL in scoring with 28 goals and 27 assists for 55 points skating in her sophomore 16-year-old campaign.
    With all that noted, Focht has produced a great made in Regina story. Her family is talented in the game too, as older brother Carson has 31 goals and 20 assists in 55 regular season games with the Calgary Hitmen heading into WHL action on Friday.
    It is almost too bad Carson, who turned 20-years-old in February, didn’t play for the WHL’s Regina Pats.
    When the Rebels season wraps up, Lauren Focht will continue her hometown journey in hockey joining the University of Regina Cougars women’s hockey teams in the U Sports ranks. Focht’s addition is a huge addition for the Cougars.
Many more special moments could awaiting Lauren Focht and the Rebels.
    While it is a big jump to play in the U Sports ranks and success is in no way guaranteed, you have to love that the chance is there for the hometown product to do big things with her hometown university team.
    Until then, Focht and the Rebels are well positioned to make a memorable post-season. With the WHL’s Pats still going through a massive rebuild, Focht and her teammates can capture the imagination of the sports scene in “the Queen City” along with the Regina Pat Canadians, who topped the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League standings.
    Some more special hockey memories are just waiting to be made in the Saskatchewan capital.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Thursday, 27 February 2020

Huskies’ Bauml to soak in final home hurrah

Dogs aim to take Canada West final against Thunderbirds

Kohl Bauml will play his final home games for the Huskies this weekend.
    For Kohl Bauml, this weekend’s Canada West Championship series is one of those life comes at you fast moments.
    The fifth-year centre will be skating in the final home games he could possibly play in his U Sports career, when his University of Saskatchewan Huskies face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in a best-of-three series that will determine the champion for the Canada West Conference in men’s hockey.
    Game 1 of the series is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place. Game 2 of the series follows on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Merlis, and if necessary, Game 3 will be held on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Merlis.
    “It has come quick,” said Bauml. “I don’t think many people expected us to be able to be at home this weekend.
    “We are going to try and take advantage of it. We’ve been really good at home this year. UBC is coming in hot.
Kohl Bauml will play in his fifth straight Canada West final for the Huskies.
    “They’ve been playing really good hockey. Their goaltender has been lights out, so we have to try and change that.”
    The 25-year-old will be making his final home hurrah along with fellow fifth years in right-winger Levi Cable, left-winger Andrew Johnson and centre Logan McVeigh. Cable is the Huskies ironman having played in 173 consecutive games for the team including action in the U Sports regular season and post-season.
    The Huskies are appearing in the Canada West final for a fifth straight year, and this year’s Canada West title series offers a much different storyline to the previous four the U of S fifth-years have skated in.
    Over the previous four campaigns, the Huskies have battled their “forever rivals” in the University of Alberta Golden Bears in a clash of the top two teams in the conference.
    This year, the Huskies enter the Canada West final as a decided favourite against a decided underdog in the Thunderbirds, who are enjoying a Cinderella run.
Kohl Bauml and the Huskies will be favoured in the Canada West final.
    Both teams are guaranteed berths to the David Johnston University Cup, which is the U Sports men’s hockey national championship tournament. The U Sports national championship tournament is played in an elite-eight format. It runs from March 12 to 15 in Halifax, N.S.
    The Huskies, who will go to U Sports nationals for a fifth straight year, finished second in the Canada West Conference with a 22-4-2 record and swept the University of Calgary Dinos 2-0 in a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series. The Dogs have won 13 straight games including action in the regular season and post-season and are rated second in the U Sports Top 10 rankings.
    The Thunderbirds finished fifth in Canada West with a 9-14-4-1 record. They upset the Mount Royal University Cougars, who were fourth in Canada West with an 18-8-0-2 record, in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series 2-1.
Kohl Bauml has 108 career regular season points with U of S.
    The Thunderbirds then shocked the Golden Bears, who were first in Canada West with a 23-5 mark, in a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series 2-1. The upsets have allowed the Thunderbirds to sneak into the U Sports Top 10 rankings in the ninth position.
    UBC is making its first appearance in the Canada West title series for men’s hockey since 1978 and will make its first appearance at U Sports nationals since 1977.
    Thunderbirds netminder and Saskatoon product Rylan Toth has been the difference for the UBC side. He has started all six of UBC’s games in the post-season posting a 4-2 record, a 2.83 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
    During the regular season, Toth appeared in 23 games for the Thunderbirds posting an 8-10-4 record, a 2.78 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
    Bauml said a number of Huskies got to know Toth a bit after getting to play some three-on-three hockey with him about three years back. The speedy forward said the UBC netminder is a genuine good guy.
    “I am happy for him to have his success against U of A,” said Bauml, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 170 pounds. “Hopefully that doesn’t continue against us, but it was nice to see him put in such a good weekend for himself personally and have his team be rewarded for it.”
Kohl Bauml will play in a fifth straight Canada West final for the Huskies.
    Rookie centre Jared Dmytriw topped the Huskies in scoring collecting 10 goals and 18 assists appearing in all of his team’s 28 regular season games.
    Sophomore Gordie Ballhorn topped all Huskies defenceman in regular season scoring with four goals and 15 assists appearing in 24 regular season games.
    Star third-year netminder Taran Kozun played in 22 regular season games posting a 17-3-2 record, a 1.87 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and five shutouts. He also scored a goal.
    Third-year forward Tyler Sandhu topped the Thunderbirds in scoring piling up 12 goals and 11 assists appearing in all 28 of his squad’s regular season games.
    Fourth-year veteran Jerret Smith led all Thunderbirds blue-liners in scoring with three goals and 12 assists appearing in 27 regular season games.
AndrewJohnson will be playing his final home weekend with the Huskies.
    While Bauml is facing his last chance to the Huskies win Canada West and U Sports titles, he said his squad talked about how these opportunities don’t come along all that often during a team chapel session on Tuesday.
    During Bauml’s career, the Huskies captured the Canada West title just once back in his rookie season in 2015-16, and appeared in the U Sports championship game once falling 5-3 to the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in 2017.
    Bauml said message was to not take these opportunities for granted, and it is directed to the whole squad.
    “That was one of the things we talked about was not letting an opportunity slip away,” said Bauml. “We’ve been close four out of my four years so far.
    “This is kind of the last chance for me, A.J. (Andrew Johnson), Logy (Logan McVeigh) and Cabes (Levi Cable). We were kind of just saying like, ‘Hey, let’s not let this one slip away.’ We don’t know how many chances that we are going to get this close every again.
Levi Cable will experience his final home hurrah with the Huskies.
    “It is not guaranteed that we get to the nationals every year, so we have to try and take advantage of one of these years.”
    Huskies head coach Dave Adolph said it is special that his fifth-year players will be able to play the Canada West Championship series at home. The Huskies are closing out the home schedule in their second season playing out of Merlis Belsher Place after moving out of their long time old home in the ancient Rutherford Rink.
    Adolph caught a media story about the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team hosting a winner take all Canada West title game on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Physical Activity Complex against the U of Alberta Pandas. The veteran hockey bench boss saw how significant that opportunity was for the Huskies women’s basketball fifth-year team members in Sabine Dukate, Megan Ahlstrom and Vera Crooks.
    “It (the media story) was talking about what an honour it was for their fifth-year girls to actually have an opportunity to play at home,” said Adolph. “I think our guys feel the same way.
Logan McVeigh will skate in his final home games with the Huskies.
    “This hasn’t been our home for very long, but I think Kohl (Bauml) and Levi (Cable) and Logan (McVeigh) and certainly Andrew Johnson remembers the last banner that they won at Rutherford, and it was special.”
    While Bauml wants to do everything he can for his team to capitalize on the chance they have this weekend, he said it is bittersweet knowing that his playing days with the Huskies are coming to a close. The graduate of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips said he keeps in contact with his former Huskies teammates from previous seasons, and everyone from this year’s squad has become buds.
    “I’ve had the five best years of my life at the university here with these guys,” said Bauml, who posted 38 goals and 70 assists in 133 career regular season games with the Huskies. “It is cliché and everything, but the friends that you make here they last you a lifetime.
    “You look at the alumni group that we have and they are all buddies from back in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s. It is stuff like that you see what you have to look forward to in the future but also being able to remember the stuff that you did in the past that is going to be most special to me.”

Kozun takes two huge Canada West awards

Taran Kozun was the Canada West player of the year.
    It was Taran Kozun’s day on Wednesday when it came to winning Canada West Conference awards.
    The third-year star netminder with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team was named the Canada West player of the year and goaltender of the year. 
    Kozun had an outstanding campaign for the Huskies appearing in 22 regular season games posting a 17-3-2 record, a 1.87 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and five shutouts. He also scored a goal.
    The Nipawin, Sask., product topped the Canada West Conference in wins and save percentage, while posting the lowest goals against average. His five shutouts equalled a record for regular season play in Canada West which he set last season along with U of Alberta Golden Bears goalie Zach Sawchenko.
    Thanks to Kozun’s efforts, the Huskies finished second in the Canada West Conference with a 22-4-2 record.
    The graduate of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds became the first player to capture the Canada West player of the year and goaltender of the year honours in the same campaign since former Huskies star Jordon Cooke pulled that same distinction off in the 2015-16 campaign.
Jared Dmytriw was the Canada West rookie of the year.
    Last season, Kozun was named both the Canada West goaltender of the year and the U Sports goaltender of the year.
    “I said to somebody the other day he has been the best goalie in probably Canada since he has been 18,” said Huskies head coach Dave Adolph. “He was phenomenal in Seattle.
    “He was the goaltender of the year in the Western Hockey League (in 2015). He was probably one of the most highly touted 20-year-olds coming out of the Western Hockey League and decided to go pro. Somehow, he fell in our lap, so we are pretty fortunate to have him.”
    Kozun wasn’t the only major Canada West award winner from the Huskies men’s hockey team.
    Centre Jared Dmytriw was named the Canada West rookie of the year after an outstanding first-year campaign.
    He led the Huskies in scoring with 10 goals and 18 assists appearing in all of the Huskies 28 regular season games. He was a plus-20 in the plus-minus department.
    The former captain of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants has played a key role in helping the Huskies advance to the Canada West Championship series.
Levi Cable captured the Canada West sportsmanship and ability award.
    Huskies ironman Levi Cable captured the Canada West sportsmanship and ability award. The fifth-year right-winger appeared in all the Huskies 28 regular season games posting 10 goals, 14 assists, a plus-13 rating and didn’t record a single minute in the penalty box.
    The Hudson Bay, Sask., product has appeared in 173 consecutive games for the Huskies including the U Sports regular season and post-season. Cable has appeared in every game he could possibility suit up for with the Huskies.
    He is the third player in the history of the Huskies to play in 140 career regular season games, and he collected 51 goals, 64 assists and a plus-50 rating in those outings.
    U of Manitoba Bisons fifth-year defenceman Adam Henry took home honours as Canada West’s top defenceman and the student-athlete community service award.
    U of Regina Cougars bench boss Todd Johnson was named the Canada West coach of the year.

Haubrich captures student-athlete community service award

Brooklyn Haubrich took home student-athlete community service award.
    Graduating fifth-year captain Brooklyn Haubrich took home a big award for her impact and leadership off the ice.
    On Wednesday, the feisty forward for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team was named the winner of the Canada West Conference student-athlete community service award.
    The 23-year-old product of Hodgeville, Sask., coaches a team of youth funded by the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon allowing families to enjoy the game who otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
    She is a mentor in the Big Sister/Little Sister program, makes monthly visits to various elementary schools as a Huskie Homeroom Mentor and has worked to provide on-ice opportunities to female hockey players in rural communities throughout Saskatchewan.
    The agricultural and bioresources student has been a U Sports academic all-Canadian in her first four seasons with the Huskies.
    Haubrich has been the Huskies captain for the past two campaigns.
Brooklyn Haubrich was the Huskies captain the past two seasons.
    This season, she appeared in 27 regular season games with the Huskies collecting eight assists and a plus-five rating in the plus-minus department.
    During her five seasons with the Huskies, Haubrich appeared in 129 regular season games posting eight goals, 28 assists and a plus-12 rating.
    She helped the Huskies finish third in the Canada West Conference with a 17-7-2-2 record. The Huskies were swept 2-0 in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final against the UBC Thunderbirds dropping an overtime decision and a double overtime heartbreaker.
    Haubrich is a graduate of the Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats female midget AAA team. The area she comes from has a huge community conscious, so it is fitting Haubrich would capture the Canada West student-athlete community service award.
    U of Calgary Dinos netminder Kelsey Roberts was named the Canada West player-of-the-year. Forward Madison Willan of the U of Alberta Pandas captured honours at the Canada West rookie of the year.
    Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette was named the Canada West coach of the year.

When UBC last made the Can West men’s hockey final in 1978

Tyler Sandhu's T-birds last appeared in the Canada West final in 1978.
    The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds last appeared in the Canada West Championship series for men’s hockey way back in 1978, and it is pretty obvious a lot has changed since then.
    When the Thunderbirds last appeared in the Canada West final, Cam Cole was the statistician for Canada West that put together the year in review report for the 1977-78 campaign. Cole is best remembered for going on to be a sports scribe at the Edmonton Journal, National Post and Vancouver Sun.
    With the Edmonton Journal, Cole covered the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers dynasty era from 1983 to 1990, where the team won the Stanley Cup five times.
    The Canada West Conference for men’s hockey include just four teams in the 1977-78 campaign including the Thunderbirds, U of Alberta Golden Bears, U of Calgary then known as the Dinosaurs and the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. The four squads played a 24-game regular season against each other.
    The Thunderbirds, who were 14-10 in the regular season, fell 2-1 in the best-of-three Canada West Championship series to the Golden Bears, who were 20-4 in the regular season.
    The Golden Bears took Game 1 of the series 4-2, but the Thunderbirds rebounded with a 2-1 victory in Game 2. U of A romped to a 9-1 anti-climatic win in a series-deciding Game 3.
    The Golden Bears advanced on to win the U Sports national title. Their roster contained a defenceman named Randy Gregg, who became a key member of the Oilers Stanley Cup dynasty.
    The Thunderbirds finally made it back to the best-of-three Canada West Championship series this season, and they will open that series with Game 1 on Friday at 7 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place against the U of Saskatchewan Huskies.

Ennis six-goal night anniversary with WHL’s Tigers

A Tyler Ennis Medicine Hat Tigers card.
    Today marks the 11th anniversary in one of the most incredible individual performances in the history of the WHL.
    On Feb. 27, 2009, Tyler Ennis scored six goals for the Medicine Hat Tigers Tigers as they downed the Prince Albert Raiders 6-2 in front of an appreciative sellout crowd of 4,006 spectators at The Arena in Medicine Hat, Alta.
    The skilled and speedy right-winger was tallying goals of the spectacular variety. On his fifth goal of the night, Ennis turned Raiders rookie defenceman Ryan Aasman inside out in scoring that particular marker.
    Aasman is currently a head coach in the junior A ranks with the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
    Ryan McDonald and Igor Revenko replied with singles for the Raiders on the night Ennis had his goal explosion.
    Ryan Holfeld made 26 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Tigers. Steven Stanford turned away 28 shots taking the setback in net for the Raiders.
    Covering the game for the Medicine Hat News that night, I gave Ennis all three of my game stars, which was the only time I had ever done that.
    Ennis pile up 43 goals, 42 assists and a plus-11 rating in 61 regular season appearances in that campaign with the Tigers, which was his final season in the WHL. He helped Canada win gold at the world junior tournament that season posting three goals and four assists in six tournament games.
    Ennis is now an NHL veteran who has played 606 career regular season games and is currently skating for his hometown Edmonton Oilers.
    His six-goal night with the Tigers is still a thing of beauty to watch, and it is even that much better with the call of Bob Ridley, the Tigers iconic play-by-play voice.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Sunday, 23 February 2020

T-birds upset Golden Bears

UBC to face Huskies in Canada West final in Saskatoon

Thunderbirds G Rylan Toth stoned the Golden Bears. 
    A veteran from two Memorial Cup tournaments did in the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
    On Sunday before 1,408 spectators at the Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton, Alta., third-year netminder Rylan Toth made 40 saves to back his University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to a 2-1 victory over the host Golden Bears in a deciding Game 3 of a Canada West semifinal series.
    With the win, the Thunderbirds take the best-of-three set 2-1 in a monumental upset.
    The Golden Bears finished first in the Canada West Conference in the regular season with a 23-5 record and were rated fourth in the U Sports Top 10 rankings. They had won the last three straight Canada West titles and the David Johnston University Cup as U Sports national champions in 2018.
    The Thunderbirds were fifth in Canada West with a 9-14-4-1 record. They upset the Mount Royal University Cougars 2-1 in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series to set up the semifinal series with the Golden Bears.
    Mount Royal was fourth in Canada West with an 18-8-0-2 record.
    On Friday, UBC posted a 3-2 overtime victory over U of A in Game 1 of that Canada West semifinal. Toth made 51 saves in that surprising outcome.
    The Golden Bears rebounded on Saturday taking Game 2 of the series by a convincing 6-1 final.
    That set the stage for Sunday’s series deciding Game 3. In that encounter, Golden Bears forward Steven Owre scored in the opening frame to give the host side a 1-0 lead.
    With 5:17 remaining in the second period, Thunderbirds third-year forward Austin Glover scored to put his squad on even terms at 1-1.
    Just 2:18 into the third period, third-year forward Tyler Sandhu tallied to put the Thunderbirds up 2-1. The visitors held tough to ensure that score would be the final outcome.
    The Golden Bears outshot the Thunderbirds 21-6 in the third and 41-19 over the entirety of the contest.
    Matt Berlin turned away 17 shots to take the setback in goal for the Golden Bears.
Tyler Sandhu scored the upset series winner for the Thunderbirds.
    Toth has started all six of UBC’s games in the post-season posting a 4-2 record, a 2.83 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
    Before joining UBC, the 23-year-old Saskatoon product played three seasons in the WHL from 2015 to 2017 with the Red Deer Rebels and Seattle Thunderbirds.
    Toth was the Rebels starting goaltender when they hosted the 2016 CHL championship tournament – the Memorial Cup. He backed the Rebels into that year’s WHL Eastern Conference Championship series, where they fell to the eventual WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings.
    In the Memorial Cup, Toth backstopped the Rebels into the semifinal contest, where they fell 3-1 to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
    Following that season, Toth was traded to Seattle for his overage campaign. He helped Seattle win the WHL title in the 2016-17 campaign on a roster that contained star centre Mathew Barzal, who is now a member of the NHL’s New York Islanders, and defenceman Ethan Bear, who is a member of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
    Toth played in the 2017 Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ont., where Seattle bowed out with an 0-3 record.
    Having shocked the Golden Bears, the UBC Thunderbirds advance to the best-of-three Canada West Championship series to face the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
    The Huskies finished second in Canada West with a 22-4-2 record and are rated second in the U Sports Top 10 rankings. U of S won all four head-to-head regular season encounters with UBC.
    The Huskies will host all three games of the Canada West title series. Game 1 is slated for this coming Friday at 7 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place. 
    Game 2 follows this coming Saturday at 7 p.m. at Merlis, and if necessary, a series-deciding Game 3 is set for this coming Sunday at 7 p.m. at Merlis.
    U of S last won the Canada West title in 2016. UBC has never won the Canada West crown in men’s hockey.
    Both teams are guaranteed berths to the David Johnston University Cup, which is the U Sports men’s hockey national championship tournament. The U Sports national championship tournament is played in an elite-eight format. It runs from March 12 to 15 in Halifax, N.S.

Focht on verge of becoming Rebels all-time leading scorer

Lauren Focht is on the cusp of the Rebels all-time scoring record.
    Regina Rebels co-captain Lauren Focht captured a major team record and is on the cusp of getting another.
    On Saturday at the Co-operators Centre in Regina, Focht collected a goal and an assist as her Rebels blanked the visiting Saskatoon Stars 4-0 in a Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season game. With her tally, the skilled forward, who turned 18-years-old in January, became the Rebels all-time leader in career regular season goals.
    Focht had 64 career regular season goals at the end of that contest to put herself one clear of the total of 63 posted by former Regina career goals leader Kennedy Bobyck, who played for the Rebels from 2014 to 2017.
    Allee Gerrard, Emma DeCorby and Tavia Terry all had singles for the Rebels on Saturday. Terry tallied into an empty net.
    Payton Schlamp made 26 saves to earn her fourth shutout of the campaign for the Rebels.
    Kaitlyn Cadrain turned away 34-of-37 shots to take the setback in goal for the Stars (12-13-3).
    On Sunday at the Co-operators Centre, Focht had a goal and an assist as the Rebels blanked the Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats 5-0 in another SFMAAAHL regular season clash.
    The win allowed the Rebels to lock up first place in the SFMAAAHL with a 24-1-1 record. The Wildcats fell to 19-6-1 and are guaranteed to finish second.
    Alexis Petford had a goal and three assists for the Rebels. Neena Brick had a pair of goals and an assist for Regina. Shaelyn Myers had a single for the host side.
Lauren Focht is the Rebels all-time leader in career goals.
    Chantel Weller made 23 saves to pick up her fifth shutout win of the season for the Rebels.
    Cheyenne Jamieson turned away 27 shots to take the setback in goal for the Wildcats.
    With her performance over the Rebels last two games, Focht has 65 goals and 55 assists for 120 points in 101 career regular season games. She is tied for second on the Rebels all-time regular season scoring list with Bobyck.
    Bobyck had 63 goals and 57 assists for 120 points in 80 career games with the Rebels.
    Focht needs one more point to equal Emma Waldenberger as the Rebels all-time leading scorer in regular season play and two points to sit alone as the Rebels all-time leading scorer.
    Waldenberger piled up 60 goals and 61 assists for 121 points playing in 109 career regular season games with the Rebels from 2010 to 2014.
    Focht, who is a Regina product, has committed to play for the University of Regina Cougars women’s hockey team in the fall. Waldenberger played five seasons for the Cougars from 2014 to 2019.
    On Tuesday, Focht will have her first chance to become the Rebels all-time leading scorer, when they travel to Weyburn to face the 5-21-2 Richardson Pioneer Gold Wings at 7:30 p.m. at Crescent Point Place.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.