Nicole Betker, University of Saskatchewan
SASKATOON – University of Saskatchewan forward Parker Thomas tallied two goals to lead the No. 2 ranked Huskies to a 4-3 win over the Mount Royal University Cougars in Game 1 of a Canada West semifinal in Saskatoon's Rutherford Rink.
The third-year forward tallied at 19:42 in the first and at 9:24 in the third.
With the win, the Huskies have the 1-0 lead in the best-of-three men's hockey series. The winner will advance to the Canada West final, as well as the U SPORTS University Cup hosted by the UNB Varsity Reds.
Thomas opened the scoring for the Huskies with just 18 seconds left in the first period. Receiving a tight pass at the blue line, Thomas rushed in close to Mount Royal goalie Cam Lanigan beating him low glove side at 19:42.
Kohl Bauml added to the Huskies lead just 1:18 into the second when his shot from the point slipped into the top of the net just under the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Levi Cable extended the lead to 3-0. Cable caught a pass from Carson Stadnyk and beat Lanigan low stick side at 5:49.
MRU cut the Huskies lead to two at 15:24 when Jamal Watson's shot from the point beat Jordon Cooke five-hole on the power play in the second frame.
The Cougars struck again with the man-advantage to cut the lead to one at 1:55 in the third. Once again a shot from the point, this time by Maddison Smiley, beat Cooke.
Thomas scored his second of the night on a quick pass from Jordan Fransoo that sprung Thomas into the Cougars' zone. He was able to jam the puck by Lanigan at 9:24.
MRU kept the game close when Cam Maclise tallied at 16:28 on a scramble at the side of the Huskies' net.
Cooke finished the night making 38 saves, while Lanigan stopped 17 at the other end of the ice for the Cougars.
Puck drop in Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Saturday at Rutherford Rink. Game 3, if needed, is Sunday at 7 p.m.