Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men's hockey team moved to 10-1 at home this season with a 5-0 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds on Bell Let's Talk Night on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Merlis Belsher Place
Levi Cable led the way for the Huskies with a goal and two assists, while Logan McVeigh and Michael Sofillas each found the back of the net and added a helper in the win. Sam Ruopp and Carson Stadnyk continued their tremendous seasons with both burying a goal. Evan Fialapicked up his second and third assists of the 2018-19 campaign, while Kohl Bauml, Collin Shirley and Gordie Ballhorn each tacked on assists in the victory.
Saskatchewan goaltender Taran Kozun picked up his second consecutive shutout and fourth of the season, with an impressive 23 save night. The second-year goaltender improves his record to 17-3-0 this season.
UBC netminder Patrick Dea allowed five goals on 33 shots, as his record slides to 4-5-0 in his rookie campaign.
Saskatchewan moves to 21-3-0 this season with the win and continue their quest to lockdown the top seed in the Canada West, which would ensure home-ice throughout the entirety of the postseason. Meanwhile, UBC falls to 11-11-2 and come away empty-handed on their road trip, as they continue to fight for a home playoff date themselves.
The Thunderbirds were presented with the first opportunity of the game after the Huskies turned the puck over at their own blue line, Austin Glover broke in one on a two-on-one, but Kozun was able to snare the wrist shot with 11:35 remaining in the first. Moments later, the visitors continued to press as Chase Clayton feathered a saucer pass between a pair of Saskatchewan defencemen to an in-stride Colton Kehler, but Kozun shut the door to keep the game scoreless.
Saskatchewan's best opportunity of the period came with under three minutes remaining in the frame when Sofillas slid a centering pass across to Bauml, who had two goals on Friday night, but his effort was denied by Dea. The goaltender kicked off his post and got a pad on the shot to make a tremendous save.
UBC outshot the hosts 10-7 in the frame as the visitors controlled play and came out looking to avenge their loss the previous night.
However, the Huskies came ready to play in the second period.
Just over a minute into the frame, Sofillas and Cable broke in on the two-on-one and Cable dangled the lone Thunderbirds defenceman and outwaited Dea to get the hosts on the board with a nice finish.
After scoring twice with the man-advantage in the first game of the series, Saskatchewan's red-hot powerplay continued to click. Cable spotted McVeigh on the goal line and the fourth-year forward did the rest as he snuck his one-timer past Dea to make it 2-0.
The Huskies continued their second period explosion, as they scored their third goal in the first six minutes of the frame. Shirley spotted Stadnyk, who was standing all alone at the side of the cage and he potted his 12th goal of the season.
The green and white continued to pressure in waves when Ruopp found his way onto a loose puck on the powerplay and ripped a wrist shot over Dea's glove. The defenceman continues to add onto his breakout season on the Saskatchewan blueline with his fourth goal in his past six games.
The Huskies outshot the Thunderbirds 13-5 in a frame which saw the home side dominate from the onslaught and find the back of the net four times in the period.
Saskatchewan added to their lead three minutes into the third, when Sofillas scooped up a loose puck in the slot, turned, and squeaked a sneaky shot off the post and past Dea.
The Huskies finished the remainder of the frame from there and on the back of their four-goal second period, picked up their sixth consecutive victory.
Saskatchewan will continue their four-game homestand next weekend when they play host to the Mount Royal Cougars for the Huskies final series at Merlis Belsher Place this regular season.
Meanwhile, UBC will return home to Vancouver to take on Manitoba. The Bisons are fighting for their playoff lives, while the Thunderbirds will continue their chase towards hosting quarterfinal action at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.