On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Huskies faced the University of Manitoba Bisons for the second time this season, this time at Griffiths Stadium. The game ended in a 27-4 victory for the Huskies, earning them a spot in the Canada West playoffs.
This victory came after two losses, against the University of Calgary Dinos and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds respectively. Head Coach Scott Flory discusses how the comeback came from focusing on the next play and the next game.
“That’s the resiliency that we’re talking about — regardless of what happens, you can’t go back in time, so you have to forget about that and play the next play,” Flory said. “Our guys did a great job of that tonight.”
This play-to-play mentality also helped the Huskies succeed despite a slow start to the game — the majority of the points were scored in the second half. Fifth-year player Tyler Chow, who showed off his stellar running in his last home game, attributes the stronger second half to a determination to win.
“Flory sat us down after we lost to UBC, and he said, ‘At this time of the year, it’s all playoff mentality — we gotta refuse to lose.’ I think we played that way today,” Chow said. “We wanted to start off hot, and that didn’t really happen. We re-collected our thoughts in the second half: offence, we started putting pedals to the metal, and defence, they kept doing what they were doing.”
The defensive line played a big part in the crucial game, holding the Bisons offence — which scored 46 points in the two teams last encounter — to just four points.
“I’ve got to thank them,” Chow said. “Four points against a hell of an offence — [the Bisons] are averaging 30 plus points a game.”
Barring the possibility of the Huskies hosting a playoffs game, the match was the last home game for the fifth-years, who led the offence on Oct. 20. Players Chow, Kyle Siemens and Tristian Koronkiewicz say that they had a great last home match.
Siemens reached career heights against the Bisons. Of the season overall, he says he is proud of his team’s resilience.
“We have a great group of guys. Adversity hit us a lot this season, and we’ve responded well every single time, so I’m pretty proud of that — pretty proud of the guys,” Siemens said.
Koronkiewicz also ended his last home game on a high — despite being a defensive lineman, he finished off the game scoring the first touchdown of his university-level career.
“No words describe that feeling,” Koronkiewicz said. “I saw the ball on the ground, picked it up and gave it my all to get to that end zone. No better way to cap off my career here at Griffiths Stadium.”
Koronkiewicz discusses the possibility of returning to home turf for the playoffs. If the team wins their next game and the Thunderbirds lose theirs, the playoffs would be hosted by the Huskies, giving the fifth-years another home game.
“Me and the rest of the fifth-years, we want that opportunity to play our playoff game here, but we got a spot in the playoffs, and we’ve got to take it one week at a time,” Koronkiewicz said. “It’s my last kick to the can. I want to be able to prolong my career as much as I can. We seized that opportunity today — we’ve got, for sure, two more weeks of football.”
The team will play in Regina against the U of R Rams on Oct. 26. The Huskies defeated the Rams earlier in the season, but Chow says they are not taking them for a guaranteed win.
“We are not going to take them lightly,” Chow said. “The Rams are a great team, and we have to stay focused.”
Ana Cristina Camacho / Staff Writer
Photos: Heywood Yu