Huskie football bounced back with a 29-15 win at home against the Calgary Dinos in week five.
It was a rematch of last year’s Hardy Cup final, where the Huskies spoiled the Dinos’ perfect season with a 43-18 upset in Calgary.
The Dinos have consistently been a premier team in the conference, considering they have only lost two games during the past two seasons in the Canada West conference — both to Saskatchewan.
Huskie head coach Scott Flory shook off the perception that this game is of greater significance for the Huskies.
“It does not mean anything to me. It really does not,” Flory said, mentioning that his team’s focus is to go 1-0 each week regardless of who they are playing.
Things did not look great for the Huskies after the Dinos scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game. Flory praised the team’s defensive performance to fight back, “7-0 in the blink of an eye. [Defensive co-ordinator Warren] Muzika did a fabulous job of adjusting.”
Despite the quick Dino lead, the Huskie offense made plays to keep them stride for stride with Calgary. Quarterback Mason Nyhus threw for 233 yards on 15 completions with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“Him and [Adam] Machart make this offensive go. The offensive line was doing great, the receivers were making plays down the field and that is what we need,” Flory said.
Running back Adam Machart continued his stellar career year, rushing for 171 yards and one touchdown. Machart is in a league of his own, averaging 147 rushing yards per game while the second leading rusher in the conference is running for 69.8 yards per game.
When asked about whether it feels different beating Calgary as opposed to other teams in the conference, Machart said, “Without a doubt. They are 4-0, right?”
He misspoke before laughing at his slip of the tongue.
“Well, not anymore.”
The Huskies will try and avenge their 43-19 week one loss to Manitoba next week at home. Both teams sit at 3-2 and are tied for third place in the conference that allows four playoff teams.
“Honestly, we kind of got punched in the mouth the last time we played them,” said Nyhus, who recognized that playoff seeding is on the line during the next game.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on Friday in Griffiths Stadium at Nutrien Park.
Men’s hockey are winless after season opening weekend
Huskie men’s hockey kicked off their season at home on Sept. 27 and 28, losing to the Mount Royal Cougars 5-4 and 7-2.
Prior to these losses, the Huskies had not lost to Mount Royal since 2016.
Head coach Dave Adolph was asked if there are any positive takeaways from the team’s 0-2 start to the season.
“Well, I get to coach again,” Adolph said, mentioning that he has some work to do this year.
The Huskies will travel to Alberta for their next weekend series on Oct. 11 and 12.
“Our leadership group has to take a pretty long look at a couple fourth years that took some shitty penalties,” said Adolph, who was not pleased with veteran players contributing to his team’s collective 16 penalties over the two-game span.
“That is going to be my focus to start. You cannot deal with skill, strategy and the X’s and O’s until some of the guys take a long look at the crest on their sweater.”
The Huskies, along with every other team in the conference, will have next weekend off. It is not the most preferred placement of a bye week as compared to a weekend off deeper into the season when teams can use it to get healthy and regroup.
“Yeah, I do not like it. I never voted for it,” Adolph said.
The next chance to catch the Huskies at home comes against Lethbridge on Oct. 18 and 19 at Merlis Belsher Place.
Men’s soccer picking up steam
For the first time this season, Huskies men’s soccer earned back-to-back wins. They defeated University of British Columbia Okanagan 2-1 and Lethbridge 2-0.
The wins are much to the relief of head coach Bryce Chapman, who had recently made comments on his team’s lack of execution when given quality chances to score.
“Unlucky, but at some point, we have to stop saying we had more chances,” said Chapman. “We have to start bearing down and taking control of games.”
It was Nikolas Baikas who led the charge against UBC Okanagan, scoring both of his team’s goals in the 2-1 win.
“Essentially, [Baikas] gets better and better every day. Now, he is starting to mature his game, play both sides of the ball and become a leader,” said Chapman. “Leaders step up in big moments, and today was a big moment.”
The Huskies now look forward to their final four games of the season, beginning Oct. 3 at home against Calgary. Their final home game is Oct. 6 versus Mount Royal.
Saskatchewan will need to take care of their business to earn a playoff spot as they currently sit at 3-3-4, which is good for third in the prairie division within the Canada West conference. The top four teams qualify for playoffs.
Women’s soccer keeps improving
Head coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton’s team came away with three out of four possible points in their final two September games. The Huskies defeated Winnipeg 6-1 on Sept. 28, followed up by a 2-2 draw against Manitoba on Sept. 29.
The dogs are now 4-2-2 with 14 points earned, which place them second in the prairie division. The top four teams in the division are separated by just two points.
Maya Gabruch has been the top performer for this year’s Huskies, leading the team with six goals in just eight games played so far this season.
Barandica-Hamilton has to be happy with Payton Izsak scoring her first two goals of the season in the 6-1 rout against Winnipeg. Izsak led the team with six goals last season, but was held off scoring sheets throughout her first six matches this year.
The Huskies have six games remaining, including three of their last four at home at inside the friendly confines of Field 7 at Nutrien Park. The favourable home stretch begins on Oct. 11 against Regina.
Tanner Michalenko/ Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Yasmine El-Gayed