Friday, 20 October 2017

Marshall’s surprising rise results in first shutout with Huskies

Sophomore goalie had no guarantees arriving at U of S

Goalie Chloe Marshall celebrates a shutout with her teammates.
    Chloe Marshall is enjoying a start that wasn’t supposed to happen with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team.
    A year ago, the Neilburg, Sask., product was tending goal in her rookie post-secondary season with the Northland College Lumberjills women’s hockey team, who are based out of Ashland, Wis. The Lumberjills were playing their inaugural season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division three ranks and posted a 4-21 overall record.
    After that one campaign, Marshall, who had an .893 save percentage with the Lumberjills, elected to return to her home province and join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team.
Chloe Marshall made 25 saves for the the Huskies on Friday night.
    “It was really expensive last year, and I thought financially it would be a better option to be here,” said Marshall, who stands 5-foot-7. “Hockey wise it is better.
    “I just knew it would get me farther academically and athletically.”
    Marshall came to the Huskies without any guarantees. The U of S women’s team had two solid sophomore netminders on their roster in Jasey Book and Jessica Vance, who were expected to be the odds on favourite options to replace graduated star veteran Cassidy Hendricks as the Huskies starting goalie.
    Instead of dwelling on the situation that was, Marshall went to work to prove herself. On Friday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink, she picked up her first career U Sports regular season shutout making 25 saves in a 1-0 victory over the U of Manitoba Bisons, who were rated eighth in the U Sports top 10 rankings.
    Including action in the regular season and playoffs, the Bisons had won six straight head-to-head encounters with the Huskies entering Friday’s game.
Goalie Chloe Marshall gets some help protecting the Huskies goal.
    “It is obviously a good confidence boost,” said Marshall. “It doesn’t mean that it is always going to be like that, but it is always a good like motivation to keep pushing and keep trying harder and just never stop.”
    The 19-year-old has won all three of her regular season starts with the Huskies, who improved to 3-1-1, posting a 1.33 goals against average and a .948 save percentage. She won all three of her starts in the pre-season, which included backstopping the Huskies to a 2-1 victory over the defending U Sport champion U of Alberta Pandas on Sept. 9 in a neutral site game in Athabasca, Alta.
    Marshall’s other two pre-season victories were shutouts.
    She admitted the early going with the Huskies has exceeded her expectations.
Defender Leah Bohlken had the Huskies lone goal on Friday.
    “It is definitely a surprise,” said Marshall. “I had a mentality where I didn’t really know what the situation was going to be like, but I just told myself to like fight for your spot and just never stop pushing and hope for the best.”
    The Huskies only goal on Friday came from defender Leah Bohlken at the 3:52 mark of the second period. Bohlken received a giveaway from a Bisons player in the U of M zone and promptly blasted the gift past Bisons rookie netminder Lauren Taraschuk.
    Taraschuk had a stellar outing herself making 20 stops as her team fell to 2-3.
    With the Huskies holding a slim edge, Marshall went to work to protect the lead against a Bisons roster that contains some very dangerous offensive players including forward Venla Hovi, who plays on Finland’s national women’s team.
Rookie Lauren Taraschuk made 20 saves for the Bisons.
    Near the halfway point of the second period, Bisons star fourth-year forward Alanna Sharman, who has averaged over a point a game in her U Sports career, cut through the Huskies skaters on a dangerous rush only to be turned away by Marshall.
    After Sharman’s chance, the Bisons manufactured a breakaway from fifth-year forward Alana Serhan, and she was turned away by Marshall. In the final seconds of the second period, Marshall denied a close in chance from a Bisons player to bailout a teammate who gave the puck away.
    Marshall admitted she gets pumped up when the pressure is on.
    “I love it,” said Marshall. “The more the pressure the better I play almost. I like thrive off of it.”
Huskies netminder Chloe Marshall covers up a loose puck.
    The pressure continued to come in the third, and Marshall made two close in saves late in the frame on Hovi.
    The Huskies puck stopper also had some luck, as the Bisons rang a shot off the post with just over four minutes to play in the third. Hovi also deflected a shot off the crossbar of the Huskies goal inside of the final two minutes of the third, when the visitors were working on a power-play. The Bisons failed to score on four power-play chances.
    Huskies head coach Steve Kook couldn’t say enough good things about Marshall’s performance
Chloe Marshall tracks a puck she deflected into the corner.
    “They (the Bisons) started to spring players out of the zone, and we started to watch the puck a little bit,” said Kook. “She (Marshall) saved us there and kept us in the game. It was fantastic for her.”
    Before moving to the post-secondary ranks, Marshall played two seasons with the Battlefords Sharks female midget AAA team from 2014 to 2016.
    She got shelled on a nightly basis, because the Sharks were one of the weaker teams in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League.
    Over her career with the Sharks, she posted a 6-24 record and managed to put up a respectable 3.27 goals against average, an impressive .914 save percentage and earn one shutout.
    While Marshall stopped a lot of pucks with the Sharks, Kook said his team didn’t keep strong tabs on her.
    “We didn’t really have a chance to watch a lot of her play,” said Kook. “I got some video tape from her coach down in the States.
Chloe Marshall pictured with a shutout game puck.
    “You can only tell so much from videotape. I had a good chance to meet with her in the summer. She was doing some goaltending camps and getting ready for the (Huskies training) camp.
    “That alone impressed me in the fact that she was willing to put that much work in and get herself prepared for the fall not knowing exactly what her role was going to be on this team. She’s earned and deserved what she has gotten so far.”
    For Marshall, she is just enjoyed every day as it comes.
    She said she loves the positive energy her teammates bring to the rink, and she is having fun playing alongside a large number of players she used to face in midget AAA.
    “It is pretty different going from being not enemies but not teammates to being teammates,” said Marshall. “It is kind of cool feeling to get to know other people and finally play with them.”
    The Huskies and Bisons go at it again on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Rutherford.

Stovin, Bisons rally past Huskies men’s team

Kohl Bauml gave the Huskies a third period lead.
    Brett Stovin, a former captain of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, helped back the U of Manitoba Bisons men’s hockey team to a surprising 4-3 come-from-behind overtime victory over the U of Saskatchewan Huskies.
    At the Wayne Fleming Arena on Friday night in Winnipeg, the Huskies, who are rated third in the U Sports top 10 rankings, led the Bison 3-2 late in the third period. The hosts potted the equalizer to tie things up at 3-3 with 15 seconds to play in the third as Stovin combined with Zach Franko to set up Kamerin Nault for a power-play goal.
    At the 3:07 mark of overtime, Stovin set up Franko to net the winner for the Bisons. Stovin finished the contest with three assists. His first helper came in the opening frame, when he set up former Blades teammate Nick Zajac to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead.
    John Lawrence and Josh Roach replied with singles before the opening 20 minutes expired to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
    Bisons forward Shawn Bowles scored the only goal in the second period to force a 2-2 tie.
    Just 92 seconds into the third, star centre Kohl Bauml scored to put the Huskies up 3-2, which set the stage for the dramatics at the end of the contest.
    Taran Kozun made 19 stops to take the loss in goal for the Huskies (4-0-1). Byron Spriggs turned away 34 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Bisons (2-3).
    The two team go at it again on Saturday night in Winnipeg.

Hilltops players take four major PFC awards

RT Kirk Simonsen, centre, protects Hilltops QB Jordan Walls, right.
    Saskatoon Hilltops players captured four major Prairie Football Conference awards on Friday.
    Right tackle Kirk Simonsen, who is also a fourth-year captain with the Hilltops, was named the PFC’s most outstanding lineman. Star fifth-year running back Logan Fischer took home honours as the most outstanding offensive back running the ball 121 times for 804 yards and scoring 11 rushing touchdowns during the 2017 regular season.
    Riley Pickett, who is in his third year with the Hilltops, was named the most outstanding defensive lineman leading the PFC with nine sacks. The graduate of Saskatoon’s Centennial Collegiate had 15 tackles, eight assisted tackles and one pass knockdown.
    Cody Peters, who is a fourth-year captain with the Hilltops, claimed the award for being the most outstanding defensive linebacker piling up 30 tackles, 12 assisted tackles and pass knockdown this season.
    The Hilltops (8-1) host the PFC final on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Saskatoon Minor Football Field against their provincial rivals the Regina Thunder (6-3).
    Thunder fourth-year veteran Levi Paul took home honours as the PFC’s most outstanding receiver hauling in 41 passes for 575 yards and scoring six touchdowns. The Thunder’s Eric Maximuik was named to the PFC’s all-rookie team on Friday as both a place kicker and punter. Maximuik made 9-of-15 field goal attempts and punted the ball 32 times for an average of 31.3 yards per kick.
    Edmonton Huskies head coach Iain McLean was named the PFC’s coach of the year for a second straight campaign guiding his team to a 7-1 regular season record. 
    Huskies quarterback Brad Launardt was named the PFC’s most outstanding quarterback, most outstanding offensive player of the year and most valuable player. Huskies linebacker Jassen Brown claimed honours as the most outstanding defensive player of the year.

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

PFC final should provide another epic clash between Hilltops and Thunder

FB Colin Stumborg and the Hilltops will battle the Thunder.
    It is a definite understatement to say interest for this year’s Prairie Football Conference final will peak to a high point in the province of Saskatchewan.
    On Sunday at 3 p.m. at Saskatoon Minor Football Field, the Saskatoon Hilltops (8-1), who have won the last three straight Canadian Junior Football League championships, will host the Regina Thunder (6-3). The winner will be pegged as a huge favourite to win a CJFL semifinal match the following week and the CJFL title game – the Canadian Bowl – on November 11.
    The Hilltops and Thunder met in a PFC semifinal match last year, and Saskatoon pulled out a slim 25-24 victory. The last PFC final encounter by the two sides was back in 2013, where the Thunder posted a 21-16 victory at Griffiths Stadium on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan. Regina proceeded to march on and win the Canadian Bowl.
    Over the past three years, the Hilltops took on the Calgary Colts in the PFC final in each of those campaigns and came out victorious in each of those outings.
    The face of the conference final changes when Saskatoon faces Regina due to the historic football rivalry the two centres have had over the years, which includes the Regina Rams tenure in the CJFL from 1954 to 1998 before they moved to the Canadian university ranks. The Thunder are expected to arrive with a large following of fans from Regina.
    “Having the provincial rival come in and play us for PFC final, you can’t really ask for much more,” said Hilltops fourth-year PFC all-star safety James Vause. “Even the games during the regular season are hyped up enough, and this one is going to be pretty hyped up as well.
    “We’re expecting a good crowd, and we’re really excited.”
    This year’s PFC final between the Hilltops and Thunder will contain numerous storylines. The two teams have combine to win the last seven CJFL championships.
    Saskatoon claimed three straight CJFL titles from 2010-12. The Hilltops were attempting to become the first team in the history of the CJFL, which dates back to 1908, to win four straight league championships in 2013, when the Thunder broke up that run.
    This year, the Hilltops are again trying to win four straight CJFL titles, and they will have to try and beat the Thunder again in the PFC final to continue that quest.
    Both sides are coming off tight PFC semifinal victories last Sunday. The Hilltops downed the Winnipeg Rifles 28-21 at SMF Field, and the Thunder traveled to Edmonton and upset the host Huskies 24-21.
Safety James Vause gets set in the Hilltops secondary.
    Both teams had a number of players earn PFC all-star honours this week. On offence, the Hilltops PFC all-stars included offensive linemen Kirk Simonsen, Mason Ochs and Taylor Elderkin along with fifth-year star running back Logan Fischer. On defence, the Toppers PFC all-stars were defensive linemen Tom Schnitzler and Riley Pickett, linebackers Cameron Schnitzler and Cody Peters and defensive backs Vause and Colton Holmes.
    The Thunder’s PFC all-stars on offence included offensive lineman Logan Ferland, running back Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette and receiver Levi Paul. Regina’s lone PFC all-star on defence was defensive back Cordell Kadash.
    The two clubs have talented starting quarterbacks who can sling the ball downfield in Jordan Walls from the Hilltops and Sawyer Buettner of the Thunder.
    Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant is expecting the upcoming clash between the two sides to be a good one.
    “Last year, the semifinal was a big game, and we were fortunate to take that one,” said Sargeant. “You throw all the stats out the window.
    “They are so well coached they understand it so well that it is going to be dogfight. It is going to be high competition. It is the team that protects the ball better and makes the least amount of mistakes is usually the team that is going to be the most successful.
    “We’re working hard, and the coaches are coaching hard. We just want to put our players in good spots and let them make plays.”
    Sargeant added the fact the Hilltops and Thunder will go at it in a conference final says a lot of good things about the work the coaches in minor and high school football did in Saskatchewan. Nearly all of the players on the rosters of both teams are from Saskatchewan.
    “At the end of the day, it is a Saskatchewan final, so that makes your heart feel good,” said Sargeant. “We’re blessed to have them (the Thunder) in our league, because they make us better. Hopefully, we make them better as well.”
    The two sides split their regular season head-to-head encounters. Back on Aug. 12 in Regina, the Hilltops came away with a 37-20 victory. On Sept. 9 in Saskatoon, the Thunder prevailed 29-26. Before the Thunder victory in September, the Hilltops had claimed six straight encounters between the two sides.
RB Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette (#31) is a playmaker for the Thunder.
    The Hilltops and Thunder have played their share of barnburners, and Vause believes that the difference in the upcoming game will be which side makes two more plays than the other.
    “We have to be dialed in and focused every play,” said Vause. “They are a big play making team.
    “They were down against Edmonton, but they found a way to win and credit to them to that. It was through a few big plays that they won. We have to be really focused every play and make sure they don’t get any deep passes or any deep plays or big runs as well.”
    When the dust settles at SMF Field on Sunday, the two teams will likely add another all-time classic game to one of the CJFL’s best historic rivalries.

Pats’ Brown deserves some respect, other notes

Tyler Brown has been money playing goal for the Pats.
    Some days you have to wonder if Regina Pats goaltender Tyler Brown will ever get the respect he deserves.
    It seems you can go into any WHL rink including the one in Regina and you will find fans, media members, scouts from all levels and executives from various teams that all conclude the Pats would be better off if they had someone different playing goal besides the 20-year-old Winnipeg product. You hear these opinions on Brown shared right in the open.
    There always seems to be talk that the Pats need to upgrade their goaltender if they want to contend for a WHL title or win the Memorial Cup this coming May as the host squad.
    The opinions seem puzzling. So far in his WHL career during the regular season, Brown has posted a 66-36-14 record, a 2.92 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and seven shutouts. In the playoffs, Brown has made all of his 35 career appearances over the past two post-seasons posting a 21-14 record, a 2.61 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and two shutouts.
    Brown, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 178 pounds, was the goalie of record, when the Pats fell 2-1 in a series deciding Game 7 of the second round of the 2016 playoffs to the Memorial Cup host Red Deer Rebels. The Pats came super close to making a surprise appearance in the WHL Eastern Conference Championship series due to Brown’s stellar efforts.
    Last season, Brown was the starting goalie who backed the Pats to their best regular season record ever at 52-12-7-1 and advanced to the WHL Championship series for the first time since 1984. The Pats dropped an overtime heartbreaker 4-3 in Game 6 of that championship series to an experienced Seattle Thunderbirds side, who were making their second straight appearance in the league title series.
Pats goalie Tyler Brown gets set to pass the puck.
    It seemed the consensus among everyone was that Brown was an extra weight that a talented Pats team carried to those lofty heights. With the turnover the Pats had coming into this season, it was viewed that Brown would be exposed.
    On Wednesday at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Brown was in goal making 26 saves and named the game’s first star helping the Pats down the visiting Brandon Wheat King 2-1. Brandon’s strong record to start the season dropped to 7-3-1, while the Pats improved to 6-4-1.
    With the departures of numerous star players from the Pats, Brown has appeared in nine games posting a 5-2-1 record, a 2.63 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. That sounds like the work of an experienced star goalie doing his best to allow the reloading team in front of him to get their feet on the ground before they get in position to run.
    If the guys mess up in front of him, Brown will be there to make the save.
    I would say Brown has been exposed as arguably one of the top three goaltenders in the WHL. Pats head coach and general manager John Paddock should be credited with keeping Brown as his team’s starting goalie in such an important season for the franchise.
    It should be noted as well that Brown was in the centre of what was the most critical play of the Pats playoff run last season. During the second round, the Pats trailed the Swift Current Broncos 3-2 in a best-of-seven series and were down 3-1 in the second period of Game 6 held in Swift Current.
    At that point, Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin had a breakaway, and if he scores, the Pats were likely dead in the water. Brown made that key stop and allowed the Pats to gain traction to pull out a 5-3 victory in that game and set the stage for a 5-1 triumph in Game 7 in Regina.
Netminder Tyler Brown makes a glove stop for the Pats.
    The best part about Brown is that he has been questioned about being heckled by fans in opposing buildings and about being the weak link on the Pats roster. He is always the coolest cat in whatever building he is in, and the opinions of others fall off his back like water. That seems like the even mind you want in goal.
    It may take Brown backstopping the Pats to a WHL title and a Memorial Cup title this season for him to get the respect he deserves like former Saskatchewan Roughriders franchise quarterback Darian Durant did with a home Grey Cup win in 2013. If Brown got both WHL and Memorial Cup title wins in the same campaign, that would be a bigger accomplishment than what Durant did.
    The Pats have an experience star goalie, who has come through in the clutch in Brown. The world’s oldest major junior franchise would be playing with fire if they let Brown go.
  • Recent attendance for sports teams in Saskatoon have to feel a little scary. The WHL’s Blades drew 2,578 spectators to their 6-3 home loss to the Vancouver Giants on Wednesday. The U of Saskatchewan Huskies football team drew 3,310 spectators to their 29-25 home loss last Saturday to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The powerhouse U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team drew 289 and 358 last Friday and Saturday respectively in 4-3 double overtime and 5-2 home wins over the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The Saskatoon Hilltops had a sparse crowd in their 28-21 home Prairie Football Conference semifinal win on Sunday over the Winnipeg Rifles. All those teams have regularly drawn bigger crowds in the past. They all work hard to stay connected to the community, so here is hoping the bigger crowds return.
  • Offensive defenceman Jesse Forsberg is doing for the Huskies men’s hockey team what Connor Hobbs used to do for the WHL’s Pats before moving on to the professional ranks this season. Forsberg is hitting a level few other blue-liners get to in being sound defensively in his own zone and averaging near a point a game offensively. The fourth year agriculture and bioresources deserves a second look from the professional ranks in North American and that includes the NHL.
  • After four years of not making the WHL playoffs, it would be nice to see the Saskatoon Blades return to the post-season dance. It has been hard to see the team stumble out of the gates at 3-6 and be outscored 44-29. Blades head coach Dean Brockman is one of the most first rate persons you will find anywhere, and he has a winning reputation from the lengthy time he spent behind the bench of the Humboldt Broncos in the junior  A ranks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Brockman has a bright mind for the game, so hopefully he can find the way to get the Blades to turn the corner.
  • The Blades signed 17-year-old defenceman Randen Schmidt to a WHL contract on Thursday. Schmidt attended Blades training camp as a free-agent invite. The Regina product is playing midget AAA with his hometown Pat Canadians and has five assists in seven regular season games in the current campaign.
  • Veteran Vancouver Province sportswriter Steve Ewen wrote a brilliant piece about the WHL’s Vancouver Giants making a visit to the memorial of the Swift Current Broncos bus crash. It is a definitely must to check out, and it can be found right here.

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Blades supporting cast needs to help Hebig and Shmyr

Cameron Hebig (#9) fires a shot on goal for the Blades.
    It is starting to feel like the Saskatoon Blades are a two-person team relying on star overage forwards Cameron Hebig and Braylon Shmyr.
    During the early going of the 2017-18 WHL regular season, Hebig and Shmyr have piled up the points, but it feels like their efforts have been wasted a few too many times.
    On Wednesday night at the SaskTel Centre, the Blades dropped to 3-6, when they were double up 6-3 by the visiting Vancouver Giants. Hebig scored twice for the Blades, and Shmyr picked up an assist on Saskatoon’s other tally.
    Hebig has seven goals and six assists in seven appearances for Saskatoon, while Shmyr has seven goals and seven assists dressing for all nine games the Blades have played in the current campaign.
Braylon Shmyr wheels into the offensive zone for the Blades.
    Despite the efforts of that dynamic duo on Wednesday, the Blades didn’t get enough production from their supporting cast, and the combination of their defence and goaltending wasn’t strong enough to give them a chance to win.
    A sparse crowd of 2,578 watched the visiting Giants improve to 4-4-1-1 by receiving contributions from a number of sources. Shifty 18-year-old centre James Malm, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 170 pounds, led the way for the Giants recording a goal and two assists. At the moment, the Langley, B.C., product is Vancouver’s leading scorer with two goals and nine assists.
    Brendan Semchuk, who is an 18-year-old Kamloops, B.C., product, potted a pair of goals playing right wing on Malm’s line. The Giants scoring was rounded out with singles coming from Milos Roman, Tyler Popowich and Owen Hardy.
James Malm had a goal and two assists for the Giants.
    The Blades stumbled out of the gate with a costly error, when Russian import defenceman Mark Rubinchik gave the puck away to Roman in front of the Saskatoon net.
    Roman quickly blasted the gift past Blades netminder Ryan Kubic to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
    Saskatoon did show fight. Late in the first, Hebig wired home a shot from the slot on a power play to tie things up at 1-1.
    Just 21 seconds into the second period, the Blades went ahead 2-1, when Czech import defenceman Libor Hajek pinched low to the right side of the Giants net to pot his third of the season.
    The lead lasted just 14 seconds as Semchuk tied things up at 2-2 with his first of the contest.
    Popowich scored late in the second and Malm and Semchuk, with his second tally of the game, opened the scoring in the third to give the Giants a 5-2 lead.
    At the 12:14 mark of the third, Hebig netted his second of the contest to cut the gap to 5-3. The Blades applied pressure after that tally, but 17-year-old rookie netminder Todd Scott withstood the surge.
Brendan Semchuk scored twice for the Giants.
    With 3:41 to play in the third, the Blades pulled Kubic for an extra attacker, but Hardy scored into an empty net for the Giants to round out the scoring in the contest.
    Kubic turned away 26-of-31 shots to take the loss in goal for the Blades.
    Scott made 32 stops in goal for the Giants to pick up his first career WHL victory to build some personal momentum as his team travels to Brandon on Friday to face the Wheat Kings.
    So far this season, the Blades have scored a total of 29 goals and Hebig and Shmyr have score a combined 14 of those tallies.
    The Blades two regular goalies also don’t have the most flattering of numbers.
Some rough stuff goes down in front of the Vancouver net.
    Kubic has a 3-4 record, a 4.19 goals against average and a .862 save percentage.
    Back up Joel Grzybowski has an 0-1 record, a 4.68 goals against average and a .825 save percentage in 90 minutes of work.
    Those inflated numbers haven’t been all the fault of the two netminders.
    With that said, the play of the Blades defencemen and their netminders have to be better in their own zone.
    The Blades, who have missed the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, don’t have to wait long to try and get a better effort.
    They travel to Prince Albert on Saturday to face the Raiders (3-4-3) at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.

Blue and gold remember Downie

Gord Downie remembered on the SaskTel Centre big scoreboard screen.
    With the passing for Gord Downie late Tuesday night, the Blades ensured the legendary frontman of The Tragically Hip was remembered during their contest on Wednesday.
    During warmups, the Blades played only songs from the iconic Canadian rock band. Following warmups, the Blades played a video of Downie and the Hip playing a song on the big screen on the scoreboard at the SaskTel Centre.
    When the song concluded, the scoreboard showed a picture of Downie on it with a written inscription, “Gordon Downie 1964-2017.”
    The Blades also played a number of songs from The Tragically Hip during stoppages in play.
Downie passed away at age 53 after a battle with brain cancer.

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Hilltops hold off Rifles, advance to host PFC Final

Saskatoon will battle Regina in conference championship game

QB Jordan Walls jets to a game-clinching first down.
    Jordan Walls just wanted to make one play and get on to the next round of the Canadian Junior Football League playoffs.
    The fourth-year quarterback of the Saskatoon Hilltops helped his team take a 28-7 fourth-quarter lead on the visiting Winnipeg Rifles in a Prairie Junior Conference semifinal match on Sunday at Saskatoon Minor Football Field. Walls watched the Rifles score two touchdowns to cut the Hilltops edge to 28-21 with 47.4 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
    After the Hilltops recovered an onside kick following Winnipeg’s second major of the fourth quarter, the Toppers faced a second and long situation. Walls faked a handoff to running back Adam Machart and bootlegged wide to the left side of the field, gained the necessary yardage for a first down and went down in bounds to ensure the clock didn’t stop.
    With the Rifles depleted of timeouts, the Hilltops kneeled down on the ball twice to run out the clock and preserve a 28-21 victory for their 10 straight CJFL playoff win. Walls was pumped to make the game-clinching play when his team needed it the most.
Joshua Ewanchyna returns the opening kickoff for a Hilltops TD.
    “It was big,” said Walls. “I think anyone on our team wanted to get that ball.
    “I was glad that Sarge (Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant) gave me the opportunity. I just had to go out and make a play, and our O-line blocked it well.
    “Mac (Machart) sold the fake really well, and our receivers had great blocking. It was pretty easy for me to get that edge, and just get the first down and get down.”
    The win allows the Hilltops, who have won the last three straight CJFL championships, to advance to the PFC Final to face their provincial rivals the Regina Thunder. The Thunder slipped past the Huskies in Edmonton 24-21 to claim the other PFC semifinal match on Sunday.
    Before the Hilltops could worry about playing for another conference championship, they had to take care of business with the Rifles, and their hands were full doing just that. Walls said Sunday’s clash at SMF Field had a playoff intensity to it.
    “The atmosphere was great,” said Walls. “They came in and they played a heck of a game.
Cole Chowen jumps up high to haul in a TD catch for the Rifles.
    “They kept it tight for the whole game. The atmosphere was good around here. Our energy was a little bit down, and we need to work on that coming into next week.”
    The Hilltops did storm out of the gate. Kick returner Joshua Ewanchyna took the game’s opening kickoff and ran it back 91 yards down the right sideline for a Saskatoon touchdown. Before the first quarter ended, safety/kicker James Vause nailed a 35-yard field goal to give the Hilltops a 10-0 lead.
    As the Hilltops built their lead, they had to earn their yards offensively against a motivated Winnipeg side. With 6:33 to play in the second quarter, Rifles quarterback Jonathan Remple threw a high pass to receiver Cole Chowen. Chowen outjumped Hilltops defensive back Luke Melnyk for the ball to pull down a four-yard touchdown reception to cut the Hilltops edge to 10-7.
    Sargeant expected the Rifles, who were 4-4 during the regular season, to come out with a lot of energy, and he thought his players didn’t match the intensity of the Winnipeg side at times.
The Rifles defence gang tackles Hilltops RB Logan Fischer.
    “That is as good as they’ve played all year,” said Sargeant. “In the playoffs, you are going to get the team’s Sunday best.
    “They had nothing to lose, and they had everything to gain. They played like that, and we played tight. We are playing like we are scared to win.
    “If you are like that, it is only going to get worse. It is not going to get better.”
    The Hilltops slowly appeared to gain control of the contest from that point.
    With 52 seconds to play in the second quarter, Walls hit star receiver Sam Mike on a 14-yard pass and run touchdown toss, and Mike finished the play by diving into the end zone to give the hosts a 17-7 edge.
Sam Mike dives into the end zone for a Hilltops touchdown.
    Mike topped all receivers hauling in nine passes for 101 yards to go with his major score.
    Near the midway point of the third quarter, Machart plunged in from a yard out to put the Hilltops up 24-7. Vause hit a 12-yard field goal with 12.8 seconds to play in the third quarter and rouge from a 42 yard missed field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Hilltops a 28-7 lead.
    Machart carried the ball 19 times for 105 yards to go with his major for the Hilltops, while star fifth-year running back Logan Fischer piled up 108 yards on 13 carries.
    The Rifles didn’t go away despite facing a massive deficit. With 2:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, Remple hit Griffin Shillingford with a 10-yard touchdown toss to cut the Hilltops lead to 28-14.
RB Adam Machart piled up 105 yards rushing for the Hilltops.
    After forcing the Hilltops to go two-and-out on their next offensive series, the Rifles put together another long and quickly executed drive ending with Remple hitting Chowen with a 19-yard touchdown toss with 47.4 seconds to play to further cut the Hilltops advantage to 28-21.
    That set the scene for the Hilltops to recover a Rifles onside kick attempt and run out the clock. Remple completed 20-of-35 passes for 239 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and he ran the ball eight times for 36 yards.
    Sargeant said his Hilltops, who improved to 8-1 overall, were lucky to walk away with a win on Sunday and need to be better overall in the PFC Final against the Thunder.
Hilltops safety James Vause (#24) knocks down a Rifles pass.
    “At the end of the day, this is game nine, so you’d think we would come out and play our best game of the year, and we didn’t do that,” said Sargeant. “Obviously, our practice week was not proper.
    “The tempo wasn’t what it needed to be. As a coach, I am going to have to make some adjustments and make sure we just have a better week of practice. In football, you play once a week.
    “We’ll come out and play better than what we did today, because this ain’t good enough. If we play like that again next week you know what, that will be it. No one is going to feel sorry for the Saskatoon Hilltops, so we better man up and figure it out.”
    The Thunder improved to 6-3 overall with their win in Edmonton over the Huskies, who finished with a 7-2 overall mark.
QB Jonathan Remple nearly powered the Rifles to an upset win.
    The PFC Final between the Hilltops and Thunder will be held this coming Sunday at SMF Field at 3 p.m.
    The Hilltops and Thunder split their two regular season encounters. Last year, the Hilltops eliminated the Thunder from the playoffs with a 25-24 victory in a PFC semifinal clash at SMF Field.
    The two sides last met in a PFC Final back in 2013, when the Thunder claimed a 21-16 victory at Griffiths Stadium on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.
    Walls, who completed 13-of-24 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown against the Rifles, is expecting another epic playoff encounter when the Hilltops and Thunder meet again.
    “It is going to be intense,” said Walls. “I think you look at the last two games we’ve played them, and they’ve been intense.
The Hilltops celebrate their PFC semifinal victory over the Rifles.
    “The stakes are high now. We want to get back to where we want to be, and they want to stop us. They are going to come in here and have a few things, and we’re going to have a few things for them as well.”

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Huskies victory wiped out

Penalty nullifies Braun TD catch with 4.8 seconds to play

Receiver Chad Braun thought he had the winning TD here for the Huskies.
    Some Higher Power up there owes Chad Braun a mulligan.
    The veteran receiver, who is in his fifth-year of eligibility, looked like he was going to be the hero for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team during a U Sports regular season clash on Saturday night at Griffiths Stadium against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
    With the Thunderbirds holding a slim 29-25 lead, Braun hauled in a pass on a sideline out route and zipped into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown reception with 4.8 seconds to play.
    The 24-year-old’s score was wiped out, when the officials called an illegal block penalty on Huskies receiver Yol Piok.
    On the next and last play of the game, a Hail Mary pass from Huskies quarterback Kyle Siemens was intercepted by Thunderbirds receiver/defensive back Alex Morrison at the UBC seven to preserve a 29-25 victory for the visitors.
QB Kyle Siemens made some big plays passing for the Huskies.
    The officials departed under a chorus of boos and catcalls from a large number of the 3,310 spectators that were in attendance. A miraculous comeback by the host side was not to be as the Huskies trailed 23-2 entering the fourth quarter.
    If you are part of the Huskies coaching staff headed up by Scott Flory, you initially want to watch the video of Braun’s nullified touchdown catch to see if the officials made the correct penalty call on Piok. If the officials were right, it gives you some piece of mind knowing the correct call was made.
    If the call was wrong, you can start consoling your players telling them they did indeed do the right things during the game-deciding moment. The sideline bosses also have to tell their players in this instant you just have to gut through what happened, because in life, you will encounter various situations where bad things happen to you that are out of your control.
Chad Braun had two TDs called back due to penalties.
    You can get upset at an official’s mistake for a time, but then you have to learn to let it go and move on. In a respectable fashion, you have to realize they are human too.
    The one person who will like have bad dreams about Saturday’s clash is Braun. He had two touchdowns that were called back due to penalties.
    Besides seeing his last-second touchdown catch get nullified, Braun had an 82-yard punt return touchdown late in the third quarter erased due to an offside penalty.
    Braun, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 190 pounds, came to the Huskies last season after spending five campaigns with the Saskatoon Hilltops of the Canadian Junior Football League. He helped the Toppers win CJFL titles in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 developing a reputation of having a playing style like Weston Dressler, when he played with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.
    On top of making electric plays on the field, Braun is one of the most likeable players in the Saskatoon football community, so you feel extra sorry for him when his big plays get taken away.
    A number of Huskies supporters will likely blame the officials for the outcome of Saturday’s game.
QB Michael O’Connor put up big numbers for UBC.
    What most in the general public don’t realize is officials these days do their best to try and get all the calls in a game right, because the most consistent ones move on to work games at higher levels. If they realize a mistake was made, they often don’t feel good about what happened.
    Resorting to jumping on them and overly criticising them just makes the situation worse, and if teams level hard criticism, the members of those clubs gamble with the prospect of coming off as pricks. At that point, you might accidentally not have some calls go your way in the future.
    In Canada, officiating in all sports is a work in progress in trying to make things better.
    In the United States, a lot more funding is put into officiating at all levels of sports, but sports in a big industry there. In Canada, sports at all levels often relies on volunteers to move forward and succeed.
    It also has to be noted for the longest time on Saturday it didn’t appear Huskies would even get in position to win the game with a possible last-second touchdown. They led 2-0 after the first quarter due to the Thunderbirds conceding a safety.
    The visitors proceeded to score 23 straight points. Morrison hauled in touchdown receptions from 25 and 35 yards out in the second quarter from Thunderbirds quarterback Michael O’Connor. O’Connor hit receiver J.J. DesLauriers on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, and the Huskies conceded a safety to conclude the surge by the visitors.
Huskies DB Payton Hall (#28) nails a Thunderbirds receiver.
    While the Thunderbirds offence scored points, the Huskies offence appeared to be stuck in the mud plagued by a number of dropped passes from receivers.
    The Huskies halted the bleeding early in the fourth quarter, when Siemens hit Samuel Baker for an eight-yard touchdown toss to cut the Thunderbirds lead to 23-9.
    O’Connor ran in a touchdown from six yards out, but the point after attempt was botched to hold UBC’s lead at 29-9.
    Siemens hit sophomore receiver Finley Easton with a 13-yard touchdown toss and Piok with a 33-yard scoring strike to cut the Thunderbirds lead to 29-23. The Thunderbirds conceded a safety with 59.3 seconds to play to cut their edge to 29-25 and give the Huskies one last drive from 75 yards out to try and win the game. That led to the dramatics at the end.
Alex Morrison (#85) makes one of his two TD catches. 
    Siemens completed 26-of-47 passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as the Huskies lost their fourth straight to fall to 2-4. O’Connor completed 37-of 51 passes for 466 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions for the Thunderbirds, who improved to 4-2 and locked up a playoff berth. Thunderbirds receiver Trivel Pinto caught 13 passes to lead all pass catchers with 156 yards receiving.
    With two weeks to go in the regular season, the Huskies still sit fourth in the Canada West Conference and hold the conference’s final playoff berth ahead of the U of Alberta Golden Bears and U of Manitoba Bisons, who are both 1-5.
    After Saturday’s heartbreaker to the Thunderbirds, the Huskies are at a turning point. They could let that affect them to the point where they tailspin right out of the post-season picture.
    They could also show true character and rally back from that disappointment, because they can still have a memorable season.
    The Huskies would look real impressive, if they can pull off the latter.
    Their first chance to get on the upswing occurs this coming Saturday, when they travel to Edmonton to take on the Golden Bears.

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Friday, 13 October 2017

Huskies shake away pesky Pronghorns with comeback

Logan McVeigh (#14) sets to embrace teammates after scoring an OT winner.
    The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team always seems to have a battle on their hands, when the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns come to town.
    On Friday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink, the Huskies needed some late game heroics to rally from a 3-2 deficit and pull out an exciting 4-3 double overtime victory. Trailing the Pronghorns 3-2 late in the third, the Huskies pulled netminder Jordon Cooke for an extra attacker.
    With 75 seconds to play, Huskies right-winger Levi Cable attempted a wraparound and his shot rebounded out to teammate Collin Shirley, who was alone in front of the Pronghorns goal. Shirley fired the equalizer home into an empty right side of the U of Lethbridge goal to force a 3-3 tie and send the U Sports regular season contest to overtime.
Centre Logan McVeigh gets set to fire a shot on goal for the Huskies.
    After a scoreless five minute four-on-four overtime period, the Huskie won the contest 44 seconds into a three-on-three second overtime session with a breakaway goal from centre Logan McVeigh. After a shot block in the Huskies end, McVeigh found himself in a race with Pronghorns captain Mitchell Maxwell for the puck into the centre ice zone.
    Maxwell toe picked and went down to allow McVeigh to have a clean rush into the Pronghorns zone. McVeigh smartly tucked a backhand shot past Pronghorns netminder Garret Hughson to win the game.
    Hughson had a spectacular night turning away 46 shots to take the loss in goal for the Pronghorns, who fell to 1-1-1.
    “It was a tight finish,” said McVeigh, whose Huskies improved to 3-0. “Coming back late in games, that is what good teams do.
Winger Collin Shirley (#11) celebrates scoring a game-tying goal.
    “We want to be that good team that can be down a goal late in the third and comeback, so that is good for us.”
    The Pronghorns protested at first thinking McVeigh hauled down Maxwell to get the breakaway. At full speed, it could appear that McVeigh committed an infraction, but that wasn’t the case.
    “They were pretty upset about it,” said McVeigh. “I thought it was just a battle for the puck.
    “I managed to stay on my feet, and he managed to fall over. It was just a hockey play.”
    The Huskies actually never held the lead in Friday’s encounter until McVeigh potted the winner in overtime.
    In the first period, rookie right-winger Tyler Maltby gave the Pronghorns a 1-0, but fifth-year left-winger Josh Roach tallied for the Huskies to send the teams into the first intermission locked in a 1-1 tie.
    The Huskies brought tonnes of pressure Hughson’s way in the second period, but the Pronghorns exited the frame with a 2-1 edge, when Maxwell fired home a shot from the slot with 59 seconds remaining in the stanza.
Pronghorns G Garret Hughson (#29) pokes the puck out of danger.
    At the 3:33 mark of the third, the Huskies tied the contest up at 2-2, when Roach found rookie left-winger Alex Forsberg on a backdoor feed. Forsberg made no mistake in firing the puck into an open cage.
    Just over three minutes later, sophomore right-winger Torrin White tipped home a point shot from Maxwell to put the Pronghorns up 3-2.
    That set the stage for the late heroics coming from Shirley and McVeigh for the Huskies. The pair have teamed up with Forsberg to form a dangerous offensive line for the Huskies in the early going of the campaign.
    “I love playing with Collin (Shirley) all the time,” said McVeigh. “To see him getting that equalizer late in the third, it is awesome.
    “Thankfully, I managed to get the overtime (winner).”
Netminder Jordon Cooke (#32) makes a big stop for the Huskies.
    While Hughson had to stand on his head, Huskies fourth-year star veteran goalie Jordon Cooke put on a strong performance turning away 27 shots to pick up the win in the U of S net.
    Friday’s game was a real high tempo contest with a lot of back-and-fourth action up and down the ice.
    The two sides go at it again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rutherford, and McVeigh is expecting another tough contest.
    “They are not usually that great of a team in the standings, but they always play us well,” said McVeigh. “They always play well in this rink.
    “Their goaltender played a heck of a game. They always play us hard, and thank goodness we got the win.”

Anderson steals victory for Pronghorns women’s team

Kira Bannatyne had an assist for the Huskies.
    Netminder Alicia Anderson turned into “the Great Wall” of Lethbridge on Friday night, and that spelled big trouble for the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team.
    The third-year Calgary product turned away 44 shots to back the host U of Lethbridge Pronghorns to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Huskies at the Nicholas Sheran Arena. Alli Borrow scored at the 4:02 mark of a four-on-four overtime period to give the Pronghorns (2-1) the win.
    The Huskies outshot the Pronghorns 21-9 in the opening frame, but came away only with a 1-0 lead on a tally from third-year forward Elizabeth Salyn. Rookie centre Chloe Smith and fifth-year defender Kira Bannatyne picked up assists on the play.
    Pronghorns fourth-year forward Brett Campbell scored to force a 1-1 tie at the 2:52 mark of the second.
    The Huskies, who were playing without star fifth-year captain Kaitlin Willoughby due to a suspected undisclosed injury, couldn’t find the go ahead goal despite hold a big edge in territorial play. Jasey Book stopped 20 shots to take the loss in net for the Huskies (1-1-1).
    The two teams go at it again on Saturday night in Lethbridge.

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Forsberg rediscovers offensive touch from past with Huskies

Jesse Forsberg has become a star offensive defenceman with the Huskies.
    It was a “Back to the Future” type season for Jesse Forsberg who has relived his minor hockey days offensively with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s team.
    In his third year with the Huskies in 2016-17, the 24-year-old Waldheim product broke out as an offensive defenceman. Appearing in all 28 of his team’s regular season games, Forsberg topped all defencemen in Canada West conference scoring netting career highs with 11 goals and 16 assists.
    He was also a plus-eight in the plus-minus department, named a Canada West first team all-star, captured honours as the Mervyn “Red” Dutton trophy winner as the top defenceman in Canada West and was named a second team all-Canadian all-star.
    Forsberg’s production bettered all but one of the five complete seasons in the WHL. The last time he was near a point a game pace was in his only full season in the midget AAA ranks in 2008-09, when he picked up eight goals and 33 assists in 44 regular season games with the Beardy’s Blackhawks.
Jesse Forsberg works with the puck along the wall for the Huskies.
    In his first appearance with the Huskies this season last Saturday, Forsberg recorded a goal and two assists in a 6-0 victory over the University of Regina Cougars at the ancient Rutherford Rink.
    “It has been a lot of fun,” said Forsberg, who stands 6-feet and weighs 226 pounds. “Obviously, I was given a little more opportunity. I took it in full stride.
    “I am part of a really good power play unit, so that helps. I think I am just poised with the puck, and I don’t give it away.
    “I’ve always liked to jump into the play. I’ve got a little more confidence and a little more opportunity.”
    Way back in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, Forsberg was selected in the first round and 11th overall by the Prince George Cougars. Over five seasons in the major junior ranks, Forsberg appeared in 296 career regular season games split between the Cougars, Seattle Thunderbirds and Moose Jaw Warriors collecting 24 goals, 83 assists and 619 career penalty minutes.
Jesse Forsberg works the point.
    When he made it to the WHL, his role changed. Forsberg became a defensive defenceman who also had a tough guy edge.
    His best campaign offensively came as an overager in 2013-14, when he had 10 goals and 26 assists split over 60 regular season games with the Thunderbirds and Warriors.
    “I think I kind of got type cast into a certain role in junior,” said Forsberg. “You go in when you are 16, (and) you are the young guy on the outs looking in.
    “After a couple of seasons playing a role that maybe you weren’t used to and pretty soon that is how you start playing, you find success at it. I found success at being a good defensive (defenceman) and being tough, so that is kind of the way I played until I was 19 and 20 where I found my offence again.
    “Obviously (last season), I got to take a few steps and be an offensive guy.”
    When Forsberg first arrived with the Huskies, he still played a defensive defenceman and tough guy role.
    Huskies head coach Dave Adolph, who saw Forsberg play in bantam and midget, believed the rearguard still had the talent to be a major contributor offensively. While the offensive breakout has come, the Huskies bench boss said Forsberg’s forte is still his play in his own zone.
    “He probably is a better shutdown defenceman than he is an offensive defenceman, because he is so intense,” said Adolph. “I think he has just been allowed to grow here, and it is not me.
Jesse Forsberg wheels up the ice with the puck.
    “He’s worked at his craft. He now plays on our power play. (In Forsberg’s second season), he wasn’t on our power play. He is deadly on the point.
    “He is just so passionate. There isn’t enough players in our game anymore that are passionate like him.”
    One of the drawbacks Forsberg had in his game was his temper, and opponents would often try to trigger that to draw him into a penalty. Forsberg’s temper came to the surface during his rookie year, when the Huskies were eliminated from the 2015 post-season.
    In the final seconds in a 3-0 first round series deciding Game 3 loss to the Mount Royal University Cougars in Calgary, Forsberg was involved in a scrum. He was given a major penalty for spitting at an official, and the incident came when Forsberg was trying to say something in the heat of a frantic moment.
    The incident resulted in a 10-game suspension. Adolph said the Cougars were trying to agitate his club during that contest, and they succeeded in getting the best of Forsberg.
    “Jesse, obviously, decided he was going to protect our whole team,” said Adolph. “He got a little rambunctious.
    “He was kind of demoralized about it. I told Jesse that if he could suck it up and handle that and if he could come back and be twice the guy, we would put a letter on him just for persevering.
Jesse Forsberg can play sound defensively in his own zone.
    “Ever since then, he has trusted us. He knew he wasn’t going to be in trouble, and he knew we were going to allow him to grow and be a good player.”
    Forsberg admitted it was gut check moment during that point in time.
    “I really had to pay for it,” said Forsberg. “It kind of slowed down my whole season.
    “I was late coming in. I kind of had trouble finding the pace right away. It was kind of a reality check to just make sure I play the game within the rules, even though in my mind I thought I did there.
    “It is just kind of a reality check. It was a big turning point for sure.”
    After returning to full-time duty in his sophomore season, Forsberg was named one of the Huskies assistant captains.
    “It was a big honour, especially as a second year guy to get to wear that,” said Forsberg. “I am a pretty vocal guy.
    “It is something I have always been used to doing on every team that I have been on. To come in and have that honour as a young guy like that was definitely huge. It kind of made me think about the big picture.”
Huskies D Jesse Forsberg has always enjoyed joining the rush up ice.
    After helping the Huskies finish first in Canada West for a second straight campaign posting a 21-5-2 record last season, Forsberg and his team faced Mount Royal in a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series. The Cougars visibly tried to provoke Forsberg with subtle physical and verbal shots after the whistle, but the rearguard didn’t bite.
    In the two game sweep that saw the Huskies earn a berth to the University Cup national championship tournament in Fredericton, N.B., Forsberg didn’t take a single penalty.
    After helping the Huskies win the Canada West title and finish fourth at nationals in 2015-16, Forsberg experienced falling in the Canada West final 6-3 in a series deciding Game 3 at home against the U of Alberta Golden Bears last season.
    At the single-elimination University Cup tournament last March, the Huskies rebounded to down the York University Lions 1-0 in overtime in a quarter-final match and bomb the St. Francis University X-Men in 8-0 in a semifinal contest. The Dogs dropped a 5-3 heartbreaker to the powerhouse U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in the championship final.
    Forsberg had a goal, an assist and was a plus-five in the Huskies three tournament games.
Jesse Forsberg celebrates scoring an OT winner for the Huskies last season.
 “I think we kind of had a different dynamic,” said Forsberg. “We’ve had different guys stepping up at different times.
    “You have to keep growing. You can’t be the same team over and over again. I think we’ve found that.”
    Away from the ice, Forsberg focuses on his studies in agriculture and bioresources. While he wants to be prepared to enter the working world after his time with the Huskies wraps up, he admits he would still like to take a crack at the professional ranks.
    “I think you are always keeping your options open,” said Forsberg, who is playing beside brother and skilled forward Alex with the Huskies this season. “Just keep playing for now and focus on winning here and getting an education, if the right opportunity come about, it would be hard to say no.”
    The Huskies (2-0) return to action tonight and Saturday when they host the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns (1-1) at 7 p.m. both nights at Rutherford.

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