Men’s hockey team continues their strong start to the season with a double victory against the Horns

By in Sports & Health

The men’s hockey team played two games at Merlis Belsher Place against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns on Oct. 19 and 20. Both matches were shutout victories, with no points scored by the Horns — Friday’s game was won with a score of 5-0 and Saturday’s, 4-0.

The Huskies started off their Canada West championship season on Sept. 29, with a 5-2 win against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Since then, they have kept a winning streak interrupted only by a 1-5 defeat against the same Golden Bears. This weekend’s success follows last week’s back-to-back victories against the University of Calgary Dinos and moves their overall season score to 5-1-0.

Taran Kozun, second-year arts and science student and goalkeeper, stopped 12 shots in Saturday’s game. He discusses how having success early in the season is motivating to him.

“I haven’t had a back-to-back in a long time, so it’s nice that after the first couple of weekends I have quite a few in,” Kozun said. “It’s nice to get the goals against back down to where I like it.”

U of S Huskies forward Levi Cable and Lethbridge Pronghorn centre Sam McKechnie battle for possession at Merlis Belsher Place on Oct. 20.

Despite coming to Saturday’s game off of Friday’s victory, Kozun says he didn’t let the team’s previous success change the way he approached the game.

“It’s shutout to shutout,” Kozun said. “They are tough to get, so if you can get one, you gotta take it.”

Both games saw two Huskies goals in the first period — on Saturday, the team managed another two in the second, while Friday’s game had consistent Huskies goals throughout. Head Coach Dave Adolph credits the team’s success to the players’ determination to give it their all from the start of the match.

“We continued playing the way we did last night in the first period, and it started to wear away on the opposition,” Adolph said in an interview with Huskie Athletics. “I thought our guys showed good composure and that Lethbridge found a way to compete for the last thirty minutes.”

 

The coach is using a predetermined rotation for the goalies this season, so Kozun will probably not be playing in the next couple of games. Kozun spoke to how these games felt and the importance he puts on preparing before the game.

“Getting back into the flow of things — you gotta be mentally strong in these games, and you have to prepare to go out and win every shift,” Kozun said. “Your whole Friday and Saturday, you have to get yourself ready to go mentally throughout the whole game.”

With a strong start to the season, the team is looking ahead with determination. Kozun states that what matters now is the next game.

“It’s coming the way I wanted it to, slowly building on each weekend,” Kozun said. “I’m just preparing for the second half, making sure that I am ready to go.”

The Huskies are facing the Regina Cougars next, in back-to-back games on Oct. 26 and 27. Kozun says the team is preparing for the match knowing that the Cougars will also be looking to keep building on their success — this weekend, the Cougars won their last two matches against the Manitoba Bisons.

“They had a good weekend… So we have to make sure that we are prepared to play against them and that we have our best chance to win,” Kozun said.

Ana Cristina Camacho / Staff Writer

Photos: Heywood Yu