Friday, 8 September 2017

Roll on, roll on Saskatchewan

Huskies football provides great early returns under Flory

Huskies QB Kyle Siemens (#19) celebrates with R Mitch Hillis.
    It was a great night to cheer and get excited at Griffiths Stadium.
    On Friday night, a crowd of 8,009 packed the storied park to watch the host University of Saskatchewan Huskies bomb the University of Alberta Golden Bears 43-17.
    The Dogs annual homecoming game was the home debut for the team under the guidance of first-year head coach Scott Flory and the squad’s vastly revamped coaching staff.
    It was safe to say the onlookers liked what they saw.
    Star quarterback Kyle Siemens rained down five touchdown passes on the Golden Bears completing 19-of-27 passes for 271 yards helping the Huskies improve to 2-0. In his first two outings, Siemens has been on fire completing 50-of-67 passes for 690 yards, nine touchdown passes and no interceptions.
    In the romp over the Golden Bears, Siemens hit four different receivers with touchdown strikes. He hooked up on two nice ones with fifth-year veteran receiver Mitch Hillis.
    With the Huskies holding a slim 7-6 edge in the second quarter, Siemens found Hillis on a swing pass, and the graduate of Saskatoon’s Holy Cross High School made two defenders miss on tackle attempts and muscled his way past a third defender for a score.
Scott Flory mans the sideline as the Huskies first-year head coach.
    The second hook up was a perfectly timed 43-yard bomb early in the fourth quarter that put the Huskies up 34-9 and effectively sealed the final outcome of the contest.
    Siemens first touchdown strike found running back Colton Klassen alone in the end zone on the final play of the first quarter to erase a 3-0 Golden Bears lead and put the Huskies up 7-3.
    Early in the third quarter, Siemens hooked up with second-year receiver Sam Baker on an intermediate route, and Baker zipped home the rest of the way on a 53-yard touchdown pass to put the Huskies up 21-6.
    The signal caller’s final major scoring strike came late in the fourth quarter on a short five-yard in route to fifth-year receiver Evan Kopchynski to put the Huskies up 43-9.
    The Huskies scoring was rounded out by a pair of Sean Stenger field goals coming from 23 and 35 yards out respectively. Stenger added two rouges with one coming off a kickoff and the other off a 90-yard punt.
QB Kyle Siemens (#19) slings one of his five TD tosses.
    The Golden Bears, who fell to 0-2, scored a single on a 49-yard punt from Brad Baker and two points on a Huskies conceded safety to hold a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Kicker Brent Arthur hit a pair of field goals including one from 25 yards out in the second quarter and one from 22 yards out in the third quarter for the visitors.
    With Huskies holding a 43-9 edge, Golden Bears backup quarterback Ben Kopczynski hit rookie receiver Nathan Rowe on a 28-yard touchdown toss with 77 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Rowe connected with sophomore receiver Jonathan Girma on a five-yard toss for a two-point conversion on the ensuing play to round out the final outcome.
    Kopczynski completed 9-of-13 passes for a team high 103 yards through the air for the Golden Bears.
    Klassen had a strong night for the Huskies carrying the ball 18 times for 82 yards and hauling three passes for 26 yards in the win. Huskies defensive back Clovis Lumeka and linebacker Kyle Newton had one interception each in the victory.
    While Friday night’s win was a crowd pleaser, the Huskies coaching staff will likely tell you their team still has to keep improving and there were down stretches for hosts in the contest.
Receiver Mitch Hillis motors downfield on a TD reception for the Huskies.
    The most glaring problem was the fact the Golden Bears ran for 324 yards as a team, which included fifth-year running back Edward Ilnicki piling up 199 yards rushing on 26 carries.
    The Golden Bears held the ball for 36 minutes and 39 seconds, which was a little over 13 minutes more than the Huskies. The visitors hurt themselves taking 13 penalties for 150 yards.
    The Huskies defence took a hit when third-year linebacker Ben Whiting left the first half of Friday’s game due to injury.
    Overall, the down parts won’t cast a shadow over what was a pleasing performance for the home side’s fans.
    The Huskies return to action on Sept. 16, when they travel to Vancouver to face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (1-0). The Golden Bears travel to Regina on Sept. 16 for a clash with the University of Regina Rams (1-1).

Blades’ Hajek and Fiala go camping in NHL

Blades D Libor Hajek will attend Tampa Bay Lightning training camp.
    Saskatoon Blades defencemen Libor Hajek and Evan Fiala are off to make an impression at the respective NHL training camps for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.
    Hajek, who is an import defenceman from the Czech Republic, left Saskatoon on Wednesday to join the Lightning rookies in Nashville, Tenn., for a series against the rookies from the Predators starting on Saturday and running through to Tuesday. After that series, Hajek will attend the Lightning’s main training camp.
    The start date and the location of the Lightning’s main training camp is still up in the air due to threat of Hurricane Irma to the state of Florida.
    The Lightning selected Hajek, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 205 pounds, in the second round and 37th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. They signed him to a three-year NHL entry-level contract following the conclusion of the 2016-17 WHL campaign.
    Last season with the Blades, Hajek appeared in 65 regular season contests recording four goals, 22 assists and a minus-17 rating in the plus-minus department. As a 19-year-old, Hajek has to be assigned back to the Blades, if he doesn’t crack the Lightning’s NHL roster.
Blades D Evan Fiala is heading to Detroit Red Wings training camp.
    Fiala will join the Wings for their main training camp, which runs Sept. 15-18 in Traverse City, Mich. The 20-year-old rearguard attended Wings development camp back in July, where he earned an invite to main camp.
    The Clavet, Sask., product leaves Saskatoon this coming Wednesday. Attending camp as an undrafted invite, Fiala will try to turn heads in an effort to earn an NHL entry-level contract.
    A physical defender who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 205 pounds, Fiala appeared in 70 regular season games in 2016-17 split between the Spokane Chiefs and Blades posting four goals, 15 assists, a plus-11 rating and 139 penalty minutes.
    The Blades acquired Fiala in a trade with the Chiefs last December. As an overager, Fiala could play professionally, if he signs an NHL entry-level contract or a minor league professional contract. If he signs an NHL entry-level contract, he could still be assigned back to the Blades.
    On Friday night, the Blades traveled to Prince Albert and fell 3-2 in an exhibition match against the Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre. Seth Bafaro and Josh Paterson had singles for the Blades (2-2). Nolan Maier turned away 17-of-18 shots playing the first 30:04 in goal for the Blades, while Joel Grzybowski stopped 9-of-11 finishing the game for the visitors.
    Sean Montgomery scored twice for the Raiders (1-1), while Carson Miller netted a single. Curtis Meger stopped 20-of-22 shots going the distance in goal for Prince Albert.
    The two teams will face each other on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Legends Centre in Warman.

Thunder player with rare chronic pain condition needs funds

    A GoFundMe campaign was started on Thursday to help a Regina Thunder player, who is suffering a rare chronic pain condition.
    In 2015, Jarrett Seck was playing his third season of Canadian Junior Football League eligibility as a 20-year-old linebacker for the Thunder. He was also attending the University of Regina to become a physiotherapist.
    Seck was injured in a game in September of 2015 causing pain in his left leg. The pain never went away, and in December of 2016, he was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
    CRPS is believe to be caused by damage or malfunction of the peripheral and central nervous systems. The cause is not definitively known and there is no cure.
    Seck is forced to lay in bed all day. Having exhausted treatments locally, the family is seeking treatments outside of Regina and Canada, and the expense is expected to be $81,000.
    Those looking to donate to help Seck can do so by clicking here.

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