Record-setting early season showing guiding U Sask. Huskies men’s hockey team

Click to play video: 'Record-setting start to season driving U Sask. Huskies men’s hockey team'
Record-setting start to season driving U Sask. Huskies men’s hockey team
WATCH: Setting the program's modern-day record for consecutive wins to begin a Canada West season, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies are sitting pretty after their first 10 games of the year – Nov 8, 2023

In its 114 year history as a program, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team has rarely had a start quite like this.

Through their first 10 games of the 2023-24 Canada West season, the Huskies have been nearly unbeatable and now find themselves near the top of the conference standings.

“It’s been a great start,” said Huskies goaltender Roddy Ross. “We have a game plan and I think we’re sticking to it pretty good so far, everything is just going good. We’re all working hard, we all know what we have to do in order to get what we want.”

The Huskies came out of the gates firing on all cylinders winning their first nine games to start the season, setting a modern-day record for the franchise.

That nine-game streak was snapped by the University of Alberta Golden Bears last Saturday in a 4-3 defeat.

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While that record-breaking month has come to an end, head coach Brandin Cote said it’s a great mark collecting 18 out of a possible 20 points to kick off the season.

“In the past couple years we haven’t got all the points that we potentially needed at the start,” said Cote. “So that’s all great. Now we’re in that middle frame of the year, kind of those dog days of the year leading up to the Christmas break.”

Click to play video: 'U Sask. Huskies hockey teams preparing for memorable 2023-24 seasons'
U Sask. Huskies hockey teams preparing for memorable 2023-24 seasons

Saskatchewan’s scoring has been spread throughout the lineup with Josh Pillar, Raphael Pelletier, Chantz Petruic and Vince Loschiavo all registering at least a point-per-game.

For Loschiavo, he’s called this one of the deepest forward groups he’s ever played with at U Sask. and has made a major difference in the Huskies climbing to second in the Canada West standings, trailing the UBC Thunderbirds by just four points.

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“That’s what good teams need to have is that depth and I think we have that,” said Loschiavo. “Any given night, any of the four lines can step up. That’s huge for us when we get down the stretch here.”

Defensively, the Huskies have been led in net by an all-star calibre start from Ross who leads the conference in wins, goals-against-average, save percentage and shutouts.

Stopping over 93 percent of the 179 shots he’s faced so far this year, Cote said Ross has shown a great deal of confidence in his third season with the program.

“When you’ve got some confidence and you have some swagger, it makes a big difference,” said Cote. “Everyone’s got the ability here, but when you have that extra confidence even within the team to know that your goaltender has got your back when you make mistakes, it’s a great thing to have.”

For Ross, his consistency in net has been a confidence boost, however the eye-popping numbers haven’t impacted his play or focus.

“Everything is going really good,” said Ross. “I feel great up there, I’m just doing my thing. I guess not changing anything, not looking at those stats too much.”

Beyond Ross, the Huskies have been one of the stingiest teams in U Sports allowing just 15 goals over their 10 games.

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As the holiday break approaches, Cote added they’ll need to keep the points rolling in to keep up with the Thunderbirds, Golden Bears, Calgary Dinos and Mount Royal Cougars in contention for a Canada West title.

“We got six games left here before the break,” said Cote. “We want to get as many (points) as we can in the bank. That’s going to make our lives a lot easier after the break, so a big portion of our season is coming up.”

The 9-1 Huskies are back on home ice at Merlis Belsher Place on Friday and Saturday, as they’ll welcome the Dinos to town for a pair of games.

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