SASKATOON – The No. 2 ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies moved five points clear of the second place and No. 9 ranked University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the Canada West standings thanks to a 4-1 win Friday night in Rutherford Rink.
The Huskies spread the scoring around in the weekend series opener with four different players making the score sheet. Sean Aschim, Logan McVeigh, John Lawrence and Andrew Johnson all notched goals for the Huskies. Neil Manning was the lone goal scorer for the T-Birds.
With the win Saskatchewan improves to 10-1 on the season, while UBC drops to 6-2-3 with the loss.
Saskatchewan opened the scoring with a fortunate bounce. Sean Aschim took the puck across the blue line and looked cross-ice for Matthew Spafford who was coming down the right wing. Aschim's pass at 12:29 of the first period ricocheted off the skate of a UBC defender and through the legs of Eric Williams who was sliding across the crease.
UBC would have a couple of good scoring chances of their own in the opening 20 minutes. Austin Vetterl and Nick Buonassisi both clanged shots off the post. Buonassisi's came while the T-Birds were pressuring on the power-play.
Just minutes into the second, the Huskies doubled their lead. Connor Cox started the play finding Josh Roach up the right boards. Entering the zone with speed, Roach sent a centering pass that deflected in on Williams who was able to keep the puck out. On the spot for the rebound was Logan McVeigh, potting his fifth of the season at 3:36.
Less than four minutes later the Huskies went on the attack again, this time with the man advantage. Williams was able to hold strong on a couple of Saskatchewan chances. Early in advantage the Huskies looked to have scored their third goal before Williams, who was sprawled on his chest, kicked up his left leg to make a heel save on a fluttering puck.
On that same power-play the Huskies would manage to break through. Jordan Fransoo started the bang-bang play at the point finding Connor Cox on the left boards. Cox quickly fired a cross-ice pass to John Lawrence who made no mistake, one-timing it home past Williams to put the Huskies up three at 7:06.
The T-Birds showed they weren't done yet midway through the third period. After drawing a pair of penalties, UBC would get on the board while on a 5-on-3 power-play. Vetterl worked the puck back to the point where Neil Manning would step into a slap shot that snuck into the net off the bottom of the crossbar at 11:36.
Saskatchewan was quick to end any hopes of a UBC comeback scoring less than two minutes later. Huskie scoring leader Andrew Johnson would roll his eighth of the season into the back of the net at 13:35 to restore the three-goal lead.
Jordon Cooke was solid in net for the Huskies tallying 19 saves for his ninth win of the season. Williams made 21 saves in the loss.
The two teams meet again tomorrow night in Saskatoon. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at Rutherford Rink.