Sunday, 10 January 2016

Huskies' Zary rediscovers offensive touch

Lauren Zary breaks into the offensive zone on a rush for the Huskies.
    For the majority of her post-secondary hockey career, it seemed like a dark cloud hung over Lauren Zary in the offensive zone.
    Basically, if she didn’t have bad luck, she would have no luck at all. The speedy forward’s work ethic could never be questioned, but the on ice drive often didn’t result in points on the scoresheet.
    In four seasons of midget AAA hockey from 2008 to 2012, Zary built a storied career with her hometown Saskatoon Stars. She piled up 44 goals and 82 assists in 103 career regular season games.
    Her shining moment came in the championship contest of 2011 Mac’s Tournament, when she recorded two goals and two assists to help the Stars claim the tournament title with a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Thunder. That victory marked the first time the Stars captured the prestigious Mac’s title.
    After graduating from the Stars and completing her high school studies at Centennial Collegiate, Zary packed up for Providence, Rhode Island, to play for the Brown University Bears women’s team in the Division I ranks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the fall of 2012. In two seasons at Brown, Zary notched just two assists in 26 games and seemingly skated away from hockey.
    Returning home to Saskatoon, she enrolled in engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2014 and decided to resume her hockey career with the Huskies women’s team, who were coming off winning their first Canada West conference championship. Thanks to a then recently introduced Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility repatriation rule, Zary could join the Huskies without have to sit out for an entire season.
Lauren Zary (#13) battles on a draw for the Huskies.
    As an added bonus, the Huskies also contained a few of her former Stars teammates.
    During the 2014-15 campaign, Zary, who made the dean’s honour roll, started to become a bit of a factor in the offensive zone picking up six goals and eight assists in 28 regular season games. This season, she had two goals and five assists in the 16 games the Huskies played before the Christmas break.
    When the Huskies opened their second semester schedule on the weekend, Zary had a breakthrough offensively helping her squad sweep a pair of games against the visiting University of Lethbridge Pronghorns at the ancient Rutherford Rink.
    On Friday night, Zary, who stands 5-foot-5, had a goal and an assist to help the Huskies double up the Pronghorns 4-2. Kori Herner, Marley Ervine and Kaitlin Willoughby had singles for the Huskies, while Cassidy Hendricks made 24 saves to earn the win in goal.
    Brett Campbell and Lauren Fredrich responded with singles for the Pronghorns, while Alicia Anderson turned away 29 of 32 shots in the U of L net.
    On Saturday night, Zary again had a goal and an assist to help the Huskies slip past the Pronghorns 4-3. Her helper came on the Huskies first goal, which saw Willoughby wire a shot off the post and in. In the contest’s third period, Zary scored on the power play, when she flipped a shot past Pronghorns netminder Jessica Lohues.
Lauren Zary, right, celebrates her goal Saturday with her teammates.
    Rachel Johnson and Herner each had singles in Saturday’s win. Jerrica Waltz started in goal for the U of S and stopped 11 of 13 shots over two periods of action. Hendricks started the third period for the Huskies, who were locked in a 2-2 tie with the Pronghorns at that time. She turned away six of seven shots fired her way to pick up the win in goal.
    Jocelyn Sabourin, Tricia Van Vaerenbergh and Chelsea Kasprick replied with singles for the Pronghorns, who fell to 8-9-1. Lohues stopped 30 shots to take the loss in the U of L net.
    With the wins, the Huskies, who are rated seventh in the CIS top ten rankings, improve to 11-5-2 to sit second in the Canada West conference. In the congested Canada West women’s standings, the Huskies are just two points back of the University of Alberta Pandas for first place, but are only six points ahead of the Mount Royal University Cougars, who sit sixth overall.
    The Huskies return to action this coming Friday, when they take on the University of Calgary Dinos (4-10-4) in Calgary.
    For the moment, Zary seems to have found a comfort zone playing on a line with Willoughby and one of her former Stars teammates in Ervine. If Zary can remain a factor offensively, the Huskies chances of finishing near the top of the Canada West standings will increase greatly.
    Zary’s work ethic on the ice and in the classroom will always be there. It would be nice if an extended run of good luck would come her way too.

Dogs take care of business in Lethbridge

John Lawrence fights for a faceoff for the Huskies.
    The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team looks intent on proving their impressive results before the Christmas break were no fluke.
    The Huskies, who are rated fourth in the CIS top ten rankings, opened the second semester by traveling to Lethbridge to sweep a series with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The wins allowed the Huskies, who are 9-0 on the road, to improve their Canada West leading record to 15-3. They sit five points up on the second place University of Alberta Golden Bears, who were swept away by the University of Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg.
    In Lethbridge on Friday night, the Huskies slipped past the Pronghorns 3-1. Rookie Levi Cable, John Lawrence and Jesse Ross netted singles for the Huskies, while Jordon Cooke made 37 stops to earn the win in goal. Jay Merkley replied for the Pronghorns, while cancer survivor Dylan Tait turned away 39 of 41 shots to earn the win in goal.
    On Saturday night, the Huskies found another gear storming out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and cruising to a 7-2 victory. Lawrence and fifth-year defenceman Zak Stebner both had a pair of goals for the Huskies, while Kohl Bauml, Jesse Forsberg and Logan McVeigh each had singles. Cooke turned away 24 shots to pick up another victory in net.
    Zane Jones and Tim Campbell replied with singles for the Pronghorns. Tait turned away 13 of 16 shot before being pulled at the 14:07 mark of the opening frame. Warren Shymko stopped 23 of 27 shots in relief.
    The Pronghorns have lost six in a row to fall to 6-11-1.
    The Huskie return to action this coming Friday, when they host the University of Calgary Dinos (7-8-3) at 7 p.m. at the Rutherford Rink.

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