Nicole Betker, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – With a 4-1 victory over the University of Manitoba Bisons Saturday night in Rutherford Rink, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies clinched a Canada West playoff spot for the 23rd straight season.
The Huskies led 2-0 heading into the final 10 minutes of the second game in a weekend series, when Manitoba tallied on a delayed penalty. But the Huskies answered at 18:21 on a power play of their own and added an empty netter to secure the win.
With the weekend sweep, the No. 4 ranked Huskies improve to 16-3-1. The No. 10 Bisons drop to 11-7-2. A night earlier, the Huskies won 6-2.
Colin Shirley got the Huskies' on the board early scoring just 2:42 into the first period. The rookie forward skated the length of the ice and his quick shot from the left side beat Byron Spriggs into the corner of the net.
With 29 seconds left in the first period, the Huskies had a rush into the Bisons' zone. Michael Sofillas' centering pass slipped by Spriggs five-hole at 19:31 to give Saskatchewan a 2-0 lead.
Manitoba finally broke the scoreless drought at 10:10 in the third period on a delayed penalty. Blake Heinrich's shot from the point beat a screened Huskies' netminder Jordon Cooke.
But the Huskies answered back at 18:21 on a power play. A quick tic-tac-toe play in front of Spriggs by Jesse Forsberg restored the Huskies' two goal lead.
Parker Thomas added the empty net goal at 19:15.
Cooke finished the game make 23 saves in his 56th career win, while Spriggs stopped 40 in the loss at the other end of the ice.
The Huskies remain at home to host the Calgary Dinos next weekend, while the Bisons travel to Calgary to meet the Mount Royal Cougars.