Saturday, 28 November 2015

Huskies' Cooke closes out Cougars

Jordon Cooke deflects a shot away from the Huskies goal.
    Jordon Cooke’s toughness definitely matches his skills at stopping the puck.
    The sophomore netminder for the University of Saskatchewan men’s hockey team was stellar making 40 saves to back his club to a 4-2 victory over the Mount Royal University Cougars on Saturday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink. At times, it seemed like Cooke was trying to stop the Cougars players from going into the goal along with the puck.
    The graduate of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets was run over on about three or four occasions. The toughest hit Cooke took arguably came early in the third period, when he was bowled into by Cougars forward Tyler Fiddler.
    Despite all the physical play, Cooke never got flustered, and he was key in ensuring his squad improved to 13-3 remain first in the Canada West conference. The Cougars five-game winning streak came to an end in the process, as they fell to 9-5-2 to sit third in Canada West.
    In the first, it appeared the Huskies, who are rated first in Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s top ten rankings, wouldn’t need to rely on Cooke’s stellar play in goal to earn victory. The hosts rolled in the first period storming out to a 3-0 lead.
    Rookies Logan McVeigh and Kohl Bauml potted singles just over two minutes apart from each other. Sophomore Cameron Blair capped the surge with a fall one-timer on a nice set up pass from linemate Josh Roach.
    The Huskies outburst saw the Cougars, who are rated 10th in the CIS top ten rankings, pull starting goaltender Colin Cooper after the opening 20 minutes. The rookie netminder stopped five of eight shots sent his way. Cam Lanigan played the rest of the way turning aside all 10 shots he faced in relief.
    From the start of the second, the Cougars started to drive to the U of Saskatchewan net hard, and they fired 33 shots at the Huskies goal over the final two frames.
Cougars forward Tyler Fiddler crashed into Huskies goalie Jordon Cooke.
    With that said, not all the contact around the Huskies net was result of the visitors’s decision to crash the crease. Close to the midway point of the second, Huskies defenceman Zak Stebner accidentally cross-checked Cougars forward Jamie King into Cooke during a hectic net scramble. Stebner was given a two-minute minor penalty over that action, and the Cougars capitalized with a power-play goal coming off the stick of Cam Maclise.
    The Cougars kept up the pressure and scored on another power play with 4:08 to play in the third, when sophomore Jamie King lifted a falling shot past Cooke to cut the host’s edge to 3-2.
Despite the pressure from the visitors, the Huskies sealed victory when Levi Cable score into an empty net with 1:28 to play in the frame.
    In his first full season as the team’s starting goalie, Cooke, who was the Canadian Hockey League’s goalie of the year in 2014, has been stellar posting an 11-3 record, a 2.56 goals against average, a .923 save percentage and one shutout. The Leduc, Alta., product always ensures the Huskies have a chance to earn victory, even when they are not at their best.
    With Saturday’s game in the books, the Huskies head into the semester break for final exams and the Christmas holidays. They resume their regular season schedule on Jan. 8 of the new year, when they travel to Lethbridge to take on the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns (6-9-1).

Vets push Huskies women’s squad to victory

Kaitlin Willoughby had two points in Saturday's Huskies win.
    The veterans stepped up to ensure the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team headed into their semester break on a high.
    The forward unit of Marley Ervine, who is in her fifth year, Lauren Zary, who is in her fourth year, and Kaitlin Willoughby, who is in her third year, combined for five points as the Huskies slipped past the Mount Royal University Cougars 2-1 in Calgary on Saturday night. The Cougars were riding a four-game winning streak.
    Ervine scored on a power play 19 seconds into the second to give the Huskies a 1-0 edge. Rookie defender Leah Bohlken and Willoughby picked up assists on that tally. With under 30 seconds to play in the second, Willoughby put the Huskies up 2-0, and Ervine and Zary picked up assists on that marker.
    Kate Hufnagel scored on the power play with 5:17 to play in the third for the Cougars, but Huskies clamped things down defensively the rest of the way to close out the win.
    Cassidy Hendricks made 26 saves to pick up the victory in goal and boost her Huskies women’s team career record for regular season goaltending wins to 41. Jessica Ross made 22 stops to take the loss in the Cougars goal.
    With the win, the Huskies, who are rated seventh in the CIS top ten rankings, improve to 9-5-2 to sit fourth overall in the Canada West conference. The Cougars fall to 8-7-1 to sit in a tie for sixth and seventh overall in Canada West with the 8-7-1 University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Cassidy Hendricks picked up her 41st regular season career win.
    Due to the fact three points are awarded for a win in regulation time in Canada West women’s play, the Huskies enter the semester break two points back of both the University of Alberta Pandas and University of Manitoba Bisons, who are tied for first and second overall with identical 9-6-1 records. The Huskies have 26 points coming of six regulation wins, three extra time wins and two extra time setbacks. All of the wins for the Pandas and Bisons have come in regulation.
    The Huskies are also only three points up on the Cougars and Pronghorns, who have 23 points coming off six regulation wins, two extra time wins and one extra time setback. Only the top six teams in the conference make playoffs.
    The Huskies resume their regular season schedule on Jan. 8 in the new year, when they host the Pronghorns at 7 p.m. at the Rutherford Rink.

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