Calgary, AB- The Canada West Conference leading University of Saskatchewan Huskies (8-1) were able to take down the Mount Royal Cougars (4-3-2) on Friday evening at the Flames Community Arenas by a score of 4-3 thanks to a late goal from Josh Roach and solid goaltending from Jordan Cooke.
The game featured the top two Canada West goal scorers. Mount Royal's captain Matthew Brown and Saskatchewan's red-hot rookie Andrew Johnson. Both players came into the game with seven goals.
The Cougars opened the scoring eight minutes into the game. Behind the Huskies net Cougars' forward Tyler Fiddler made gorgeous saucer pass over top of a defenders stick and onto the tape of Jamie King. King sent a shot beneath the arm of goaltender Jordan Cooke for his fourth goal of the year.
Mount Royal kept the pressure on as forward Cody Cartier came blistering into the zone on a slightly contested breakaway just a minute later. His deke looked to fool Cooke, but the Canada West wins leader managed to quickly get his pad in the right position keeping his team within one.
While Mount Royal dominated the first half of the period but the Huskies quickly found their game and looked like the second ranked team in the nation for the last half of the period.
Saskatchewan was able to pull even with just under four minutes remaining in the period. Josh Roach picked up his fifth assist of the year feeding Logan McVeigh in the slot where he sent a wicked wrist shot past Cougars goalie Colin Cooper, finishing off the first period scoring.
The Mount Royal line of Tanner Olstad, Jamie King and Tyler Fiddler generated most of the Cougars' scoring chances throughout the night and with six minute left in the second period Fiddler drew a tripping call after another strong shift.
On the ensuing power play Jordan McNaughton made a strong slap pass to Fiddler who in turn gave the puck to teammate Cam Maclise in front of the net. Maclise made a move to his backhand and lifted the puck over Cooke, restoring Mount Royal's lead.
Much like the first, the opposing goal seemed to spark the Huskies. Mere moments after the Cougars' marker, Saskatchewan rookie defenceman Levi Cable blasted a slap shot from inside the blue line that managed to beat Cooper's glove.
Two minutes later the Huskies grabbed the lead for the first time. On a fast break, Saskatchewan forward Parker Thomas fought through defenders to find a poorly placed rebound left in the slot. From there he beat the sprawling netminder for his first of the year, putting the visitors up by one going into the third.
Mount Royal came out hot in the third period, too hot in fact. It appeared as though Cody Cartier had buried a puck 35 seconds into the frame but an inadvertent trip he made in the process negated the call and sent the Huskies to the power play.
The Cougars were not phased by the call. Fiddler continued his strong play on the penalty kill. He picked up a puck fanned on by a Huskies defender at his own blue line and broke in alone with speed. He beat Cooke glove-hand with a wrist shot, equalizing the contest.
The Cougars had a chance to take the lead on a power play with six minutes remaining in the game after a boarding call went against Saskatchewan. As they did all night the Huskies penalty-killing unit was strong and didn't allow a single good scoring opportunity.
With under a minute remaining in the game, Huskies defenseman Kendal McFaull let a shot go from the top of the circle. Josh Roach was standing in front of the net and got his stick on the puck, just below the cross bar. His first goal of the season gave the Huskies the goal they needed to avenge their playoff loss at the hands of the Cougars from a season earlier.
Jordan Cooke was exceptional in the win; making 33 of 36 saves to pick up his conference leading seventh win of the year. Meanwhile, Colin Cooper stopped 21 of 24 for Mount Royal falling to 4-2-1 on the year.
The teams will reconvene tomorrow evening for the Fourth Annual MRU Remembers game, taking place at 6 P.M at Flames Community Arenas.