What a weekend it was in the Canada West football conference. The first-place Calgary Dinos lost to the fourth-place Manitoba Bisons while the second-place Alberta Golden Bears fell to the fifth-place Regina Rams.
Given the upsets handed to the top two teams in the conference, the Huskies had an opportunity to claim first place in the conference. All they had to do was beat the last-place University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
The dogs entered the fourth quarter at UBC with a 12-point lead but surrendered 13 unanswered points in the final frame. With six seconds remaining in the game, the Huskies attempted a 49-year field goal that was unsuccessful, handing the massive upset to the hometown Thunderbirds.
Now heading into the final regular-season weekend of the year, plenty of playoff implications are on the line. The top four seeds, all of whom have already clinched a playoff berth, are separated by just one game. Calgary leads the conference at 5-2 while three teams, including Saskatchewan, are tied for second place at 4-3.
The Huskies are at home to face Alberta this week. If they beat the Golden Bears, they will secure a home playoff game.
The Huskies are playing great soccer at the most opportune time of the season.
Maya Gabruch scored a goal in each game of the final regular-season weekend that saw the Huskies defeat the first place MacEwan University Griffins on Oct. 19 and settle for a tie against the Alberta Pandas on Oct. 20.
Gabruch finishes the season as the team’s leading scorer with nine goals, which is second-most in the conference.
“It is a breakout year for her, she has just been unbelievable,” said head coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton. “It’s been a team effort, but she has taken it to the next level and we are so happy because we knew she had it.”
The Huskies will now look forward to hosting a quarterfinal match against the winner of the play-in game between the University of Victoria and the University of Lethbridge. Barandica-Hamilton was pleased with his team’s ability to avoid participating in the play-in game, earning a bye as the second seed in their division.
“It is huge. It is something that has been our target. Not a lot of people gave us credit and thought we would be here,” said Barandica-Hamilton.
The Huskies have lost in the quarterfinal round in each of the past two seasons. Home field advantage should help the team break that trend.
“It is not our end goal. We are happy to accomplish step one, which is to host [the quarterfinal game], but we are not content,” said Barandica-Hamilton. “We want to go out and see how far we can take it with this young group.”
Similarly for men’s soccer, they too are coming together to play their best soccer at just the right time.
As winners of six straight games, the Huskies are undoubtedly the hottest team in the conference heading into the playoffs.
The second-place Huskies will host their quarterfinal game on Oct. 26 against the third-place Victoria Vikes.
The dogs have not advanced past the quarterfinal round since 2014 with three consecutive losses in the opening playoff round since then. Their leading scorer, Nikolas Baikas, will look to lead the Huskies to a deep playoff run.
The Huskie women’s hockey team sits at .500 six games into their season. Last weekend in Lethbridge, they split the weekend series with the Pronghorns, winning 2-1 in game one and losing 2-1 in game two.
Fourth-year Huskie forward Bailee Bourassa has just one goal this season but not for a lack of effort. Bourassa’s 25 recorded shots on goal are the most by any skater in the conference.
It is too early to begin to predict how this season will look for the Huskies as they sit tied right in the middle of the conference in fourth place.
This team will stay on the road for their next weekend series, visiting the third-place Calgary Dinos on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Huskie fans will have to wait until November to see them play at home.
Huskie men’s hockey is finally back on the right track.
The Huskies returned home from Alberta with a winless record through the first two weekends of the season. But they took care of business against the Lethbridge Pronghorns, winning 5-0 in game one and 8-3 in game two.
“We got some pucks in the net, which is something we have not been able to do since game three of the Canada West final last season,” said head coach Dave Adolph.
The Huskies took 20 penalties in their first two games of the season. At Alberta, they took 11 penalties over the two-game series. Against Lethbridge, they displayed much better restraint, taking just four penalties in game one and none in game two.
“Well it is a focus, it really is,” said Adolph when asked about his team’s discipline.
“It comes and goes — can’t score but we’re disciplined, can score but we’re undisciplined. I don’t know, hockey’s a funny game,” said Adolph.
The Huskies will stay at home for their next weekend series against Calgary on Oct. 25 and 26. Adolph’s team will look to reach .500 with two wins against the Dinos.
“They are big, they are strong,” said Adolph. “They play a real, real sort of grinding game which we do not, so we are going to have to learn [how] to do that.”
Men’s and women’s Huskie volleyball kicked off their respective seasons on the road last week in Calgary.
The women’s team earned a weekend sweep against the Dinos, dropping only one set to Calgary over two games. Emily Koshinsky led the Huskies with 28 kills.
For the men’s team, they split their weekend series with the Dinos, losing game one 3-2 and winning game two 3-1. Dylan Mortensen leads the team with 41 kills over the first weekend of the year.
Both Huskie volleyball teams will come back to campus for their home opener against the UBC Thunderbirds on Oct. 25 and 26.
Tanner Michalenko/ Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Heywood Yu, Supplied by GetMyPhoto.ca/ Huskie Athletics