by: John Gaudes
October 12, 2013, WINNIPEG – After picking a great night to end their scoring drought to get their first win of the season, the Bisons men’s hockey team were looking to continue their strong play and finish a weekend sweep of #6-ranked Saskatchewan on Saturday, October 12th.
The Bisons (1-3-0), though, were unable to continue that offensive output – as Saskatchewan (2-2-2) upped their defensive presence to win in a rout, 5-0, at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
For the third time in four conference games, Manitoba was held without a goal. Starting goalie Joe Caliguiri notched 32 saves in 43 minutes of play before being replaced by Deven Dubyk.
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, got goals from defenseman Josh Roach and forwards Cody Smuk, Derek Hulak, Andrew Bailey and Manitoba native John Lawrence. Goalie Ryan Holfeld was solid in a shutout effort with 30 saves.
“Last night we took a big step as a team and it pushed us forward. You have to give Saskatchewan credit, though, they came out desperate – no team wants to be swept in our conference,” said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant.
“Those guys elevated their game and we didn’t elevate ours collectively.”
The first period started back and forth but quickly saw Saskatchewan start dictating the pace. At the eight-minute mark, they were able to get a steal and pass from defenseman Kenton Dulle, who got it off to a streaking Smuk – Smuk then put a nifty backhand past Caliguiri to put Saskatchewan up 1-0. After that, they played staunch defense, killing off a four-minute double minor to keep Manitoba scoreless headed into the first break.
The Huskies then opened up their scoring in the second period, starting with Hulak at the eight-minute mark, who took a brilliant cross-ice pass and put in a goal to give his team some insurance. Eight minutes later, some beautiful skating from defenseman Zak Stebner earned a shot and a rebound goal for Bailey to put the Huskies up 3-0 headed into the second intermission.
Back to back Saskatchewan goals to start the third put it out of reach, as Lawrence scored on the powerplay. Just a minute later, Roach knocked one in to make it 5-0.
The Bisons men’s hockey team now head out on the road for the first time in the regular season. They’ll play their next game in Calgary against Mount Royal on Friday, October 18th. Puck drops at 8:00 p.m. CST.
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, heads home to host the nation’s #1 team in Alberta. That game also takes place on Friday, October 18th at 8:00 p.m. CST.