Friday, 3 February 2017

Character line has Huskies on verge of locking up first

Logan McVeigh has been on fire for the Huskies.
    The good guys are coming through to make a nice feel good story for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team.
    The forward line of second-year centre Logan McVeigh, third-year winger Michael Sofillas and fourth-year winger Josh Roach have emerged as the Dogs’ top offensive unit this season. On Friday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink, the trio combined for three goals and four assists to lead the Huskies to a 5-3 victory over the U of Manitoba Bisons.
    The win allowed the Huskies, who are rated second in the U Sports top ten rankings, to improve to 19-4-2. They need to earn one more point in the standings to clinch first in the Canada West Conference and home ice advantage through the conference playoffs for a second straight year.
    Coming into the 2016-17 campaign, McVeigh, Sofillas and Roach weren’t expected to be the Huskies top scoring forwards. They all have offensive ability and were expected to contribute on the scoreboard, but they are all best known for leading the way on the ice by example with their work ethic.
Josh Roach, left, celebrates a goal with Michael Sofillas.
    Working together as a unit, all three are having career seasons offensively. McVeigh leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and 16 assists. The Kenaston, Sask., product picked up a goal and two assists on Friday, and he has points in four consecutive games totaling six goals and four assists over that time.
    Sofillas, who had an assist on Friday, is third in team scoring piling up 11 goals and 13 assists, while Roach has eight goals and 16 assists to sit fourth in Huskies scoring. Roach had a pair of goals and an assist in Friday’s win.
    McVeigh is having the breakout campaign he had desperately been seeking since he piled up 20 goals and 34 assists in 39 regular season games in the midget AAA ranks with the Saskatoon Contacts back in 2009-10.
Josh Roach zips up ice for the Huskies.
    During a WHL career that spanned five seasons, McVeigh played for four teams including the Kamloops Blazers, Prince Albert Raiders, Medicine Hat Tigers and Regina Pats. He appeared in 328 regular season games collecting 55 goals and 96 assists.
    In each of his WHL stops, McVeigh was well respected by teammates, coaches and team staff. His compete level was always high and consistent, but he was never able to hit overdrive with his offensive output.
    Sofillas played two full seasons with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes before finishing his junior career in Manitoba’s junior A ranks in 2013-14, where he netted 14 goals and 24 assists playing in 54 regular season games with the Dauphin Kings and Winkler Flyers. His WHL career totals didn’t approach what he put up in the MJHL.
    Roach played four seasons as a defenceman in the junior A ranks appearing in 203 regular season games with the Humboldt Broncos and Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He totalled 43 goals and 105 assists over that time.
    The offensive defenceman was converted to a forward with the Huskies, where he has flourished. He has also been an assistant captain with the Huskies since his sophomore year.
    McVeigh, Sofillas and Roach all carry reputations of being guys you want to represent your team in the community and to see them take off in one of Canada’s top elite but still underrated leagues is truly special.
Michael Sofillas (#15) celebrates a win with goalie Jordon Cooke.
    Against the Bisons on Friday, the visitors recorded the first six shots on goal before the Huskies went up 1-0 on their first shot of the game coming off the stick of Jordan Tkatch. Just 53 seconds later, Roach netted his first of two goals on the night to put the Huskies up 2-0 on their second shot of the contest.
    Remi Laurencelle pulled the Bisons to within 2-1 before Huskies winger Levi Cable rifled home a goal top corner to give the hosts a 3-1 edge heading into the first intermission.
    McVeigh scored early in the second to give the Dogs a 4-1, before the Bisons attempted a rally. Blake Heinrich scored for the visitors before the second period expired, and Brett Brooks slipped home a goal on a power play in the third to cut the Huskies edge to 4-3.
    Roach sealed victory with an empty-net tally.
    Huskies superstar goaltender Jordon Cooke made 27 saves to pick up the win in goal for U of S. Byron Spriggs stopped 27 of 31 shots to take the loss in net for the Bisons (12-11-2).
    The two teams go at it again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Rutherford Rink.

Huskies women’s team blanked in Winnipeg

Cassidy Hendricks was solid in goal again for the Huskies.
    The Huskies women’s hockey team didn’t find any luck around the net Friday night in Winnipeg falling 3-0 to the host Bisons.
    Jordyn Zacharias scored the Bisons first goal at the 3:29 mark of the opening frame and their third marker at the 10:35 mark of the second period.
    Megan Neduzak picked up a single 49 seconds into the second stanza to count for U of M’s other tally.
    Rachel Dyck made 24 saves to pick up the shutout in the U of M net. Cassidy Hendricks stopped 28 shots to take the loss in the U of S net.
    The Bisons, who are ranked fifth in the U Sports top 10 rankings, improved to 18-5-2 with the win.
    The Huskies, who were shutout for a second straight contest, fell to 13-9-3. The Huskies sit fourth in the Canada West conference.
    The two teams go at it again on Saturday in Winnipeg.

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