Huskies’ OT win pushes series to brink

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Paul Cartledge

March 3, 2013, Saskatoon SK (ISN) – Team captain Brennan Bosch scored a hat trick, including the overtime winner, to earn the No.5 University of Saskatchewan Huskies a 5-4 win in game two of the best-of-three conference championship against the No.1 University of Alberta Golden Bears, Saturday night at Clare Drake Arena.

The former Medicine Hat Tiger netted the series-extending tally 1:27 into the extra frame, the Martensville, Sask. native picking up four points on the night while fourth-year forward Andrew Bailey had a goal and two assists. Ex-Calgary Hitmen Kyle Bortis added a couple of helpers and third-year forward Kenton Dulle scored a single.

Third-year rearguard Jesse Craige led all Bears with three points (all assists) while sophomore forward Levko Koper (one goal, one assist) and third-year forward Johnny Lazo (two assists) each put up a pair. Former Seattle Thunderbird Travis Toomey, team captain Greg Gardner, and fourth-year blue-liner Colin Joe each added singles.

Toomey opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games, the Leduc, Alta. native taking a quick, short pass from Koper from behind the net, going just inside the far post for his third of the playoffs at 6:59 of the opening frame.

Bailey replied at 10:46 when he tipped a Brett Ward wrister in the high slot, the puck then ricocheting off a defender to find the top left corner of the Alberta cage. The goal also broke Kurtis Mucha’s impressive shutout streak of 335:06, going a few minutes longer than the modern-day NHL record of 332:01 set in 2003-04 by Brian Boucher of Phoenix.

Alberta retook the lead at 12:38 when Koper roofed a short-handed tally in the middle of the Saskatchewan zone but the teams entered the dressing rooms knotted at two when Bosch got his first of the night on the power-play with 2:30 left to go in the first, Mucha getting a pad on the forward’s first shot attempt, but unable to stop him from slamming home the rebound.

Two late penalties in the opening 20 minutes led to four-on-four hockey to start the second, yet it was just as Huskie Derek Hulak was getting back on the ice that Joe fired a short-handed howitzer just inside the Saskatchewan blue line to put the Bears back on top 57 seconds into the middle frame.

Alberta then increased the lead on a five-on-three power-play when Gardner cleaned up a Kruise Reddick slapshot at 6:52.

The Huskies would reply again late, however, a couple of quick passes in tight leading to Bosch’s second goal, sliding the puck underneath Mucha’s pad at the 17:12 mark of the second period.

As the final seconds ticked down in the frame, Brett Ferguson, who notched the game-winner on Friday, had a clear-cut breakaway but the former Red Deer Rebel struck iron right before the buzzer sounded.

The metal kiss proved to be costly for the home team, when a goalmouth scramble led to Dulle potting a loose puck over a helpless Mucha to tie the game up at four with 6:28 left to go in the third period.

Excited by a near-capacity crowd at Clare Drake Arena, the two teams put up a fervent pace in the final minutes of the frame, but neither team could get a point-blank chance to draw blood.

Yet after a couple of potential rushes by Lazo into the Saskatchewan end to begin overtime, Bosch came down the right wing and, from the faceoff circle, roofed the winner over Mucha’s glove, making it Alberta’s third-straight post-season loss to the Huskies in extra time.

Saskatchewan finished the night 1-4 on the power-play, giving up two short-handed goals, while Alberta went 1-5.

Game three of the Canada West championship will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Game notes:

Saskatchewan won last year’s conference semi-final with two straight overtime victories in games two and three of the series…Mucha’s shutout streak is the longest in modern-day play for the CIS, the WHL, and the NHL, but it falls short of the NCAA record of 375:01 set by Blaine Lacher of Lake Superior State, obtained February 26 to March 2, 1994.

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