With former Kelowna Rockets goalie Jordan Cooke in net, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies claimed the Canada West men’s hockey championship on Saturday night, beating the University of Alberta in two straight games.
Cooke made 26 saves on Saturday night as Saskatchewan clinched the title with a 3-2 win. In game one on Friday night, Cooke posted a shutout in a 4-0 win.
Saturday’s result lifted Saskatchewan to their first conference banner since 2011-12 and the 16th in program history.
In the series clinching game, Cooke stopped a breakaway late in the second period that would have given Alberta a 2-0 lead, keeping his team in the game.
On Friday night he stopped all 28 shots he faced in the 4-0 win.
Former Rockets defenceman Zac Stebner was also on the U of S roster, which consists of 10 former WHL players.
Saskatchewan and runner-up Alberta will both advance to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s University Cup national championship in two weeks time at Halifax, N.S., as Canada West reps in the eight-team, single-knockout tournament.
Prior to the best of three championship, Cooke was named the 2015-16 Canada West men’s hockey most outstanding player and goaltender of the year.
Cooke became the first Canada West goaltender to win the outstanding player in more than two decades after posting a conference-best 19-5-0 record and .921 save percentage, as the Huskies tied a program record for wins in a season with 22.
Cooke was the driving force behind Saskatchewan’s turnaround season, as the Huskies finished 21 points better in the standings compared to a year ago. Also, his 19 wins set a new program single-season record for victories.
Cooke, attending the University of Saskatchewan under the WHL Scholarship program, played 149 games over four seasons with the Rockets and was named the CHL Goalie of the Year in his final season when he had a 37-9-0-4 record for the Rockets.