By Nicole Betker
(ISN) – For the first time since 2006-07, the University of Saskatchewan Huskie men’s hockey team was crowned Canada West champions after Defenceman Brett Ward scored 6:33 into triple overtime to give the Huskies a 2-1 win over the University of Calgary Dinos in Game 3 of the best-of-three Canada West Final.
Saskatchewan will now travel to the University Cup as the lone Canada West representative. It will be the first appearance on the national stage for the Huskies’ since 2007-08.
Ward found the puck after it came to him from the corner of the net. His shot beat Dustin Butler five-hole for the win.
The triple overtime affair goes down as the longest in conference history. It topped the Huskies’ triple overtime win over Alberta in Game 2 of the Canada West Final in Edmonton March 10, 2007. Curtis Austring scored the winning goal at 9:16. In 2007, the first overtime period was 10 minutes.
Butler and Huskie netminder Ryan Holfeld were spectacular in the overtime periods, each saving the game multiple times. Calgary hit the crossbar and were stopped by a sprawling Holfeld twice. Butler stopped both Canada West leading scorers Kyle Ross and Derek Hulak on wide open shots.
Calgary had opened the scoring in the game after a turnover by the Huskies in front of the net. Dino Tyler Fiddler snipped the puck through Holfeld’s five-hole just 1:56 into the game. Saskatchewan had a slow start not registering a shot until 10 minutes into the game.
Huskie rookie Matthew Spafford knotted the game at one at 9:22 in the second period with six seconds left on a power play with a hot shot as he came streaking through the zone.
Calgary has never defeated the Huskies in the five Canada West final meetings in history.
The University Cup, hosted by the UNB Varsity Reds, is March 21-25 in Fredricton, New Brunswick.