Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorns Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – Rebounding from a 3-2 loss the previous night, the Lethbridge Pronghorn men's hockey team built a 3-0 lead through two periods and held on for a 4-2 win over the U SPORTS third ranked Saskatchewan Huskies.
With the win the Pronghorns improve to 7-9-1. The loss drops the Huskies to 14-3-1 and they fail to gain ground on the conference leading Alberta Golden Bears after the Bears lost their second consecutive game to the Manitoba Bisons.
"After last night's game, the message was simple, just be on time," said Pronghorn head coach Spiros Anastas. "Our process was great from the first puck drop and everyone got involved early."
"We need to get a little better at playing with the lead and we'll work on those scenarios this week for sure."
Dalton Sward, Ryon Moser, Ryan Chynoweth and Connor Sanvido scored for the Pronghorns, while Michael Sofillas and Logan McVeigh replied for the Huskies.
Garret Hughson turned aside 34 Huskie shots in the win and his counterpart Jordan Cooke finished the night with 23 saves.
During the game's first power play, it looked as if the Huskies would open the scoring for the second consecutive night. Josh Roach snuck down the back side and was fed a cross-ice pass that looked like a sure goal, but Pronghorn goaltender Garret Hughson reached across with the paddle to rob Roach.
"Hughson's two stops on the early PK probably set the course for the game, he was outstanding tonight," Anastas said on the play of his goaltender tonight.
It took until the final two minutes for either team hit the scoreboard. Pronghorn winger Dalton Sward picked up the puck just inside his defensive end and raced down the ice shorthanded. Just as a Huskie defender was closing in on Sward, he snapped a shot over Jordan Cooke's shoulder for his fourth of the season.
While the first was a more even period compared to the first period a night ago, the Huskies outshot the Pronghorns 17-10.
Carrying the momentum of a late first period goal, Lethbridge doubled their lead before the two minute mark of the second. Ryon Moser banged home a juicy rebound at the edge of the crease to give the Pronghorns a 2-0 lead.
A huskie power play near the mid-point of the second swung the momentum in the Huskie's favor but Garret Hughson and the Pronghorns were able to weather the storm.
On a power play of their own, the Pronghorns upped the lead to three just past the 14-minute mark. Ryan Chynoweth snagged a puck in the slot and deposited a wrister over Cooke's shoulder. The goal was his third of the season.
In addition to two goals, the Pronghorns also dominated the shot clock in the second, outshooting the Huskies 11-4.
Looking to get back into the game, the Huskies put the Pronghorns on their heels in the third but it wasn't until halfway between the period before Saskatchewan was rewarded.
On the Huskies' fourth power play of the game, Michael Sofillas was the beneficiary of a carom off the shin pad and found himself all alone in front and beat Hughson low blocker side.
With 1:10 remaining, the Huskies brought the game within one. Following an initial save by Hughson, Logan McViegh was Johnny-on-the-spot to jam home the rebound but that would be as close as they would get. Connor Sanvido scored into the empty net to seal the win for the Pronghorns.
"Lots to be happy about this weekend," continued Anastas on his team's play this weekend. "But we're on to the next one; The MRU weekend will be telling for us. They're a hard working team that wants those points just as badly as we do."
Next up for the Pronghorns is a home-and-home series with provincial rival Mount Royal Cougars. The Huskies will return home to host the Manitoba Bisons, who are coming off a weekend sweep over the nation's top ranked Alberta Golden Bears.