Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan men's hockey team picked up their 12th consecutive victory as they powered past the Manitoba Bisons by a score of 8-2, in front of a crowd of 1,460 on Nov 24, at Merlis Belsher Place.
"We're gelling pretty well right now, we have four lines that are all contributing at the same time. When we get four lines rolling we're pretty tough to beat," said Huskies forward Michael Sofillas.
Sofillas and Collin Shirley each scored twice on the night, while Logan McVeigh chipped in three assists. Levi Cable and Jaimen Yakubowskieach picked up a goal and an assist. Sam Ruopp and Gordie Ballhorn also contributed offensively as each defenseman found the back of the net in the win. Colby Harmsworth and Carson Stadnyk both had two-point nights, as they each recorded two helpers. Shane Collins, Kohl Baumland Parker Thomas also added assists for Saskatchewan.
Zach Franko's first period marker got Manitoba on the board, while former Saskatoon Blades captain Nick Zajac scored his third goal of the season in his return to the Bridge City. Rookie forward Keaton Jameson, Liam Bilton and Brett Brooks also added assists on the night.
Travis Child made his third start of the season for the Huskies and he turned aside 15 of 17 shots to move to 3-0 on the year.
Byron Spriggs got the start between the pipes for the second consecutive night for the Bisons and kicked away 17 of 24 shots. Dasan Sydora stopped 15 of 16 shots on net in relief for his club.
With the win, Saskatchewan moves to 13-1 on the season and remains in first place in the Canada West, while Manitoba remains tied with Regina for seventh place in the conference with a 2-10-1 record.
The Bisons struck first at the 7:32 mark of the opening frame, after the Huskies turned it over in their own zone. Franko was able to corral the loose puck in the slot and rip home a wrister to give his club the early lead.
Sam Ruopp got the Huskies on the board, as he banked in a centering pass off Spriggs from behind the goal line to score his second goal of the weekend.
Just 25 seconds later, Saskatchewan took the lead as they stormed up the ice in waves and onto a four-on-one. Harmsworth's stretch pass found Bauml who slid the puck over to Cable who wired the puck home and finished off a beautiful passing play, to give the Huskies a 2-1 advantage.
The Huskies got their third goal in under three minutes when Ballhorn rocketed a clapper home from the point to pick up his first goal of the season.
Saskatchewan outshot Manitoba 12-7 in the opening frame.
The Huskies extended their lead late in the second period, as Cable spotted Sofillas in front of the Bisons cage to give his team a 4-1 lead heading into the intermission.
Offensive opportunities in the second frame were limited as Saskatchewan outshot Manitoba 8-6 in the period.
However, it took just the Huskies just 14 seconds into the third to add to their lead. Sofillas took advantage of a giveaway from behind the Bisons net, as the fifth-year forward tapped in his second goal of the game into the empty cage to make it 5-1 for the home side.
Saskatchewan scored twice more in just over twenty seconds, as Collin Shirley fired both goals home for his side to extend the lead to 7-1.
Manitoba got one back late as they trimmed the lead to 7-2, with Zajac firing home his third goal of the season.
However, late in the third period, Yakubowski added his fourth goal of the season to make it 8-2 for the Huskies.
Saskatchewan will continue their homestand next weekend as they welcome the Alberta Golden Bears to town in what will be a rematch of the last year's Canada West championship and the University Cup semifinal.
Meanwhile, Manitoba will return home to close out the calendar year at Wayne Fleming Arena as they play host to the Calgary Dinos.