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Men’s and women’s hockey teams clinch playoff spot

By in Sports & Health
University of Saskatchewan Huskies forward Kohl Bauml stands on the rink before the U Sports men’s hockey action at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon, SK on Feb. 7, 2020. | Heywood Yu

The regular season has officially ended for the Huskies hockey teams with the men’s and women’s team clinching second and third place, respectively. Both Huskies hockey teams are now gearing up for a strong 2020 playoff performance.

Women’s hockey

The women’s hockey travelled down Highway 11 to play the University of Regina Cougars on Feb. 7, then came home to host the next day. 

The dogs split the weekend, winning the Feb. 7 faceoff in Regina 2-1 in double overtime, while falling 3-2 in a shootout at home during the second game of the weekend. 

The Friday win resulted in netminder Jessica Vance earning her 12th win of the season, stopping 15 out of 16 shots she faced. The winning overtime tally came courtesy of forward Bailee Bourassa, who is leading the team with 12 goals this season.

Prior to puck drop on Feb. 8, eight fifth-year players were honoured and individually introduced to the crowd.

Despite goals that came courtesy of forward Sophie Lalor and defenseman Morgan Willoughby during the third period, the dogs fell 3-2 in a shootout. It remained a stalemate until the fourth round of shootout when U of R Cougars forward Jaycee Magwood netted the winning goal.

The split weekend brought the team to 52 points, trailing second-
place University of Calgary Dinos by four points. 

The women’s team fell short of earning a bye week, but they earned home ice advantage in the first round of playoffs. They will be facing the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds at Merlis Belsher Place on Feb. 14 to 16 in a best-of-three series. 

The Thunderbirds finished sixth in the standings with 34 points. The dogs faced UBC four times this season, splitting the meetings evenly as the Thunderbirds took the first two games and the Huskies won the last two. 

The women’s team will begin playoffs on Feb. 14 at Merlis Belsher Place in what should be a fast-paced, physical matchup. The Huskies took 38 penalty minutes in the four regular season matchups, while the Thunderbirds took 60 penalty minutes.

Men’s hockey

The men ended the regular season on a dominant note, sweeping the University of Regina Cougars with a 4-0 victory at home on Feb. 7 and a 6-2 road win on Feb. 8. This extends the dogs’ winning streak to 11 games. 

University of Saskatchewan Huskies forward Jordan Tkatch and University of Regina Cougars forward Bryce Platt battle for the puck during the first period of U Sports men’s hockey action at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon, SK on Feb. 7, 2020. | Heywood Yu

Fifth-year forward Logan McVeigh continues to be a major key in the Huskies lineup, notching one goal on Friday night and earning a goal and an assist during the Saturday night victory. 

The men had to put their league-leading penalty kill to the test late in the third period on Friday night, taking two penalties with less than six minutes to go. 

The Huskies prevailed and goaltender Taran Kozun earned his league-leading fifth shutout of the season, tying his record for the most shutouts in Canada West regular season. 

“It’s a huge honour to tie my record,” said Kozun. “It’s nice to get the goose egg, but the only way I get it is when the team plays really good in front of me. So I gotta give a lot of credit to the guys in front; they make my nights pretty easy on those.”

Even though the dogs have earned a quarter-final bye week, they look to stay dialed in. Kozun emphasized that the team will not be taking the extra time lightly.

“We got to stay prepared, make sure that we practice hard every day and stay mentally in it,” said Kozun. 

The Huskies will have to wait for the results of the quarter-final games to see who they will face in the conference semifinals in the coming weeks.

Jenna Patrician

Photos: Heywood Yu

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