Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan men's hockey team picked up their 11th consecutive win as they defeated the Manitoba Bisons by a score of 6-3, on Nov. 23 at Merlis Belsher Place.
Carson Stadnyk recorded two goals on the night, while Michael Sofillas added a goal and an assist. Levi Cable scored his eighth goal of the year and third in the past two games, while also adding an assist on the night. Sam Ruopp and Colby Harmsworth each picked up their first goals of the season while Collin Shirley and Wyatt Johnson each tallied two assists. Parker Thomas, Kohl Bauml, Evan Fiala and Jordan Tkatch also picked up helpers in the win.
Rookie forward Jeremy Leipsic recorded a goal and an assist for the Bisons. Liam Bilton and Zach Franko also found the back of the net for the road team. Nick Zajac tallied two assists, as he picked up his eighth and ninth helpers of the 2018-19 campaign. Lucas Skrumeda and Adam Henry also tallied assists on the night.
Taran Kozun stopped 18 of 21 shots fired his way in the win for the Huskies, as he registered his tenth win of the year.
Byron Spriggs turned aside 38 of 41 shots he faced in the loss for the Bisons.
Saskatchewan moves to 12-1-0 on the year with the win, while Manitoba moves to 2-10-1 after their tenth consecutive loss.
The Huskies opened the scoring at the 13:28 mark of the first period, as Sam Ruopp entered the zone on the power play, and snuck his wrister through the five-hole of Spriggs, scoring for the first time this season to give his club the early 1-0 lead.
Through one period of play, the shots on goal were knotted up at eight apiece.
Just moments into the second frame and with Saskatchewan on another powerplay, they were looking for a two-goal lead. However, Spriggs was able to stretch out and get a toe on Collin Shirley'swraparound attempt to keep his team within one.
But just moments later, Stadnyk's centering attempt got through Spriggs to give the Huskies a 2-0 Huskies lead under a minute into the second period.
After controlling the puck inside the Manitoba zone, Saskatchewan added to their lead on a nifty tic-tac-toe play as they worked the puck around the horn and Sofillas' one-timer finished it off as he rifled the puck past Spriggs to extend their lead to three.
The Huskies were looking to add to their lead with just over five minutes in the second, as Gordie Ballhorn hopped into the rush and re-deflected Bauml's feed, but Spriggs was able to shut the door.
The Bisons got on the board midway through the second frame, as the road side solved Kozun at the 14:06 mark of the period when Bilton found twine to bring his club back in the game.
Manitoba cut the Saskatchewan lead to two late in the period when Skrumeda's stretch pass threaded the needle to Leipsic, who broke into the zone with speed and fired his wrist shot past Kozun.
While both clubs were able to find twine twice in the period, the Huskies outshot the Bisons 21-8 in the frame
Manitoba had a prime opportunity on the penalty kill to tie the game at three in the third period, as Bilton was looking for his second of the game. The fourth-year forward broke in alone on Kozun, but the Saskatchewan netminder shut the door.
The Huskies jumped on the counterattack moments later, when Shirley skated the puck coast-to-coast and fed a cross seam pass over to Stadnyk who outwaited Spriggs and tucked the puck over top of the goaltender's blocker to re-establish the Huskies 4-2 lead.
However, Manitoba refused to go away, as they scored their third powerplay goal of the night.
Franko's shot from the point got through a cluster of bodies in front of Kozun, which brought his team within one.
After the puck caromed out of their end, the Huskies hopped onto the counterattack.
Alex Forsberg gained the line and spotted Cable who wheeled around the Bisons blueliners and went upstairs over Spriggs to give his team a late insurance marker and make it a 5-3 lead.
Harmsworth sealed the Saskatchewan victory as he flung the puck the length of the ice into the empty cage to make it 6-3 for the home side.
The Huskies and Bisons will do battle on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place in the second game of the two-game series.