The Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team are the top dogs in the Canada West conference, following Saturday’s 3-1 win over the UBC Thunderbirds, earning a 2-0 series sweep and the program’s 11th conference title.
The Huskies were led by a two-goal performance by graduating forward Levi Cable.
“Going into this year that’s all we wanted, this was our goal,” Cable said. “But we’ve got another one coming up and this one was a stop on the way.”
“Every time you get to win; it doesn’t matter if I’m playing cards against my grandma or playing hockey out here, I always want to win,” said goaltender Taran Kozun.
“If I don’t get to win, I’m pretty upset.”
The atmosphere at Merlis Belsher Place was simply electric. The rink was packed to capacity with 2,667 fans in attendance to take in the first banner won by the team in their new home.
“I mean, it’s been pretty special, the support that we’ve had,” said head coach Dave Adolph.
“I think that this is something that’s just getting started, you know. I really do. This is going to be a pretty good place to play for a lot of players in the next number of years.”
“This was the loudest I’ve heard this place,” Cable said. “The student section was really going and was a lot of fun to play in front of, and I’m glad that my last game here was in front of these guys.”
“We were all excited to get out there and hear them make noise,” Kozun added.
“As soon as we stepped on the ice until the end of the game, it’s pretty surreal how crazy the fans were all night, it gave us the energy to push through.”
Kozun played the role of anchor for the Huskies, as he has all year, turning aside 17 of the 18 shots he faced in the contest. The performance should come as no surprise as earlier in the week Kozun was named both goalie of the year and player of the year in the Canada West conference.
The Huskies opened up the scoring at the 7:33 mark of the first period. Carson Stadnyk took a screened shot from the middle of the left circle that was turned aside by T-Birds goaltender Rylan Toth. Stadnyk, however, twisted around the defender into the low slot, picked up his rebound and fired it past Toth, his third goal of the post-season.
Less than five minutes later, Cable joined in on the action when a rebound popped to him on the left side of Toth on the powerplay. He quickly rifled the puck up and over the netminder, his first goal of the series.
Late in the second, Cable made the most of another powerplay opportunity, popping another rebound in from the left of the net giving the Huskies a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.
“The powerplay was going and I just got a few lucky bounces,” Cable said.
“The guys were making good plays and I was just getting the benefit of it.”
UBC did break the goose egg late in the third period on Jake Kryski’s playoff leading fourth goal, and seventh point.
UP NEXT: The Huskies get to heal up from any bumps and bruises sustained over their four-game romp through the Canada West ahead of puck drop in the national quarter-finals, which begins on March 12 in Halifax.
“There’s still a lot of good teams out east, so we’ve just got to make sure that we have a good week of practice here next week, and to make sure we’re mentally ready, and physically ready,” Kozun said.
“It’s nice that we don’t play next weekend. We get the week off, maybe a few days before we get back into it” Cable added.