Nicole Betker, University of Saskatchewan
SASKATOON – The No. 2 ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies held on for a 5-3 win over the University of Manitoba Bisons Friday night in Saskatoon's Rutherford Rink.
Saskatchewan jumped on the board early in the game scoring two goals in the first minutes and just 53 seconds apart. Jordan Tkatch tallied the first at 4:07 on a tight play in front of the Bisons' net. Josh Roach added the second at 5:00 after the Bisons' failed to clear the puck. Roach picked up the loose puck after a blocked initial shot and found the back of the net.
The Bisons' Remi Laurencelle cut the lead in half at 16:11 after he raced into the Huskies' zone from a turnover in the neutral zone. His shot beat Jordon Cooke's glove. Levi Cable restored Saskatchewan's two goal lead before the end of the frame on a quick rush up the ice at 18:23.
Logan McVeigh tallied his sixth goal in three games at 3:56 in the second period after he received a pass from Jordan Fransoo from behind the Manitoba net. His shot slipped just inside the top of the net.
Blake Heinrich scored the Bisons' second goal from the left faceoff dot at 14:17 on the power play in the second. He beat Cooke high to the blocker side. Brett Brookes pulled Manitoba within one at 9:07 in the third beating Cooke five-hole.
Roach added the empty net insurance goal at 19:50.
With the win, the Huskies improve to 19-4-2. Manitoba drops to 12-11-2. Saskatchewan has clinched a spot in the Canada West men's hockey postseason, while Manitoba is looking to secure one of two spots left.
Byron Spriggs made 28 saves for the Bisons, while Cooke stopped 27 for Saskatchewan at the other end of the ice.
The two teams will battle again Saturday night at Rutherford Rink. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. in the final regular season home game in 2016-17.