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Huskies vs. Cougars: A weekend of provincial rivalry for the hockey teams

By in Sports & Health

This weekend, the Huskies men’s and women’s hockey teams set out to face their provincial rivals, the Regina Cougars, in a home-to-home series — each team played one game at home and one in Regina. The Huskies’ only defeat of the series was the women’s 1-2 loss on Saturday.

The women’s team began their weekend with a 4-1 victory at Merlis Belsher Place. The Huskies began the game strong, scoring three of the goals in the first period. After the game, head coach Steve Kook celebrated their win while keeping his eyes on the larger goal.

“It’s always good travelling to the second game with a win in your pocket,” Kook said. “One of the things we said in the room is ‘let’s not get too comfortable with our win here — let’s feel good about our game, but let’s make sure that we finish where we started.’”

U of S Huskies women’s hockey forward Bailee Bourassa celebrates with her teammates after scoring her fifth goal of the season against the Regina Cougars at Merlis Belsher Place on Jan. 11. | Riley Deacon / Photo Editor

Earlier in the season, the team split the weekend with Regina in the home-to-home series on Oct. 26 and 27. Kook said that, despite the home advantage, the team was hoping to break this trend on Saturday.

“For us, right now, in this part of the season, points are really important, so if we come away with a split this weekend, it almost feels like we didn’t do any work,” Kook said. “It’s hard going into their barn. If we are lazy and think we can get away with shortcuts, we are going to be in trouble.”

Despite the team’s efforts, the weekend ended with another split. On Saturday, the Cougars turned things around at the Co-operators Centre in Regina — the Huskies scored first, but the Cougars were quick to get even. The Huskies are still one spot ahead of the Cougars in the Canada West standings, but the 2-1 defeat doesn’t put them any closer to hosting a playoff game.

The weekend was a complete success for the men’s team. The Huskies dominated the Cougar’s home game, winning 7-1 at the Co-operators Centre. Nearing the end of the third period, high tensions between the rivals turned into a brawl, leading to 45 minutes in penalties. 

U of S men’s hockey forward Wyatt Johnson fights with Regina Cougars forward Corwin Stevely at Merlis Belsher Place on Jan. 12. | Thomas Garchinski

Tensions also ran high in the second game of the series — Saturday’s match at Merlis Belsher saw a total of 96 penalty minutes. The Huskies dominated the game, finishing off the series with a 5-1 victory. Head coach Dave Adolph says the game saw some positives, like the contribution of the rookies, but that there’s still work to be done.

“Layne Young has been coming on for the last month and a half. We finally got an opportunity to play him, and he got rewarded — I think it’s really important to get our young guys going,” Adolph said. “Moving forward, we need to get some production out of that power play. We have a difficult stretch ahead.”

The men’s team remains first in the Canada West standings, with a record of 17-3-0 and a playoff spot secured. The Cougars are currently last in the conference.

Both Huskies teams will face the Lethbridge Horns next weekend — the men’s team in Lethbridge and the women’s team at home. Both teams are ahead of the Horns in the conference standings and have won all their games against them this season.

Ana Cristina Camacho / Staff Writer

Photos: Riley Deacon / Photo Editor, Thomas Garchinski

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