Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – Jessica Vance helped lead the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's hockey team over the Calgary Dinos on Play for a Cure Night, with a 3-0 victory, on Jan. 4, at Merlis Belsher Place.
Emily Upgang opened the scoring late in the second period which stood up as the game-winning goal for the Huskies as they snapped a two-game losing skid with the win. Leah Bohlken picked up her sixth goal of the season while also adding an assist and Kennedy Brown's first career Canada West goal sealed the win.
Jessica Vance was perfect on the night for the Huskies as she stopped all shots fired her way. The third-year goaltender played with inspiration as her mother, who is currently battling cancer, was honored before the contest and dropped the puck during the ceremonial face off in a game that saw the Huskies don special jerseys that are to be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Calgary's goalie Kelsey Roberts did her best to keep her team in the game with a strong performance between the pipes, as the third year stopped 30 of 32 shots she faced.
Saskatchewan moved to 6-6-4-1 with the win, while Calgary fell to 2-13-0-2 and recorded their fourth consecutive loss in the process.
Early in the first and with the Huskies on the penalty kill, their offence went to work.
Bohlken chipped the puck past a Dinos defender and raced in alone on Roberts, but the third-year defenceman flipped the puck over top of the crossbar, keeping the game locked up at zeroes.
With just under three minutes remaining in the opening frame and Saskatchewan on a man-advantage of their own, Baillee Bourassa threaded the needle with a pinpoint pass through a pair of Dinos as she sprung Upgang on a breakaway, but Roberts shut the door to record one of her many key saves on the night.
Calgary outshot Saskatchewan 6-4 in the opening period, in a quiet frame with minimal scoring opportunities.
The Huskies hopped back onto the powerplay just moments into the second frame,and Abby Shirley walked in alone on Roberts, but the Dinos netminder made another tremendous save with a Huskie bearing down all alone.
With Saskatchewan on yet another powerplay, Calgary looked to turn the table and produce some offence from their penalty kill. The Dinos hopped out on a two-on-one, and Rachel Paul slid a pass across to Delaney Frey, but the forward's wrister soared high over the top of the cage.
The Huskies finally took advantage of the man-advantage on their fourth power play of the game, as Bohlken slid across a beautiful cross-crease pass to Upgang who tucked the puck into the open cage. The Poplar Point, Manitoba native picked up her second goal of the season to give the home team the all-important opening goal of the game.
Saskatchewan had a dominant second period, vastly outshooting Calgary in the frame.
Playing a defensive style of hockey as they clung to their one goal lead throughout the final frame, the Huskies were opportunistic and took advantage of a power play late in the third period. Bourassa spotted Bohlken with a nifty cross-seam pass, and the defenceman continued her spectacular season with yet another goal.
With Roberts pulled late in the game in favor of an extra-attacker, Brown sealed the victory for Saskatchewan as the rookie forward rifled the puck into the empty net to register her first Canada West goal and make the score 3-0.
Saskatchewan and Calgary will take the ice for the second game of the series tomorrow night, as the Huskies will look to close out the weekend with a sweep.