The mood at the Co-operators Centre was a sour one on Saturday night as the University of Regina Cougars men’s hockey team completed their Canada West home-and-home series against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
The two games that the boys played this weekend could not have had more different outcomes. On Friday, the Cougars were able to secure a 2-1 victory due in part to an unreal performance from rookie goalie AJ Whiffen. However, absolutely nothing went the Cougars’ way on Saturday, and as a result the Cougars ended up losing by a hideous score of 9-1.
Ryan Sawka, who was originally credited with the lone goal for the Green and Gold, noted that it was just one of those games where nothing seems to go your way.
“We just weren’t getting bounces and we got into penalty trouble,” he said.
The first period was back and forth early and it looked to everyone like Regina was in for a game that was sure to go the distance and be close right to the wire. The Huskies opened up the scoring courtesy of a shorthanded goal roughly five minutes into the game.
Regina then answered a mere two minutes later when a multi-player scramble in front of the net resulted in Sawka getting credit for his first goal of the season. Tyler Penny and Neil Kodman were credited with assists; the goal was later credited to Penny. The tied score was short lived as the Huskies scored on a delayed penalty call to go up by one. Unfortunately for Regina, the Huskies never looked back and went on to score another three goals in the first, including one with just 47 seconds left on the clock.
Regina opted for a goalie switch for the second period and sent out Shayne Barrie between the pipes, hoping that the switch would spark the team. However, the goalie switch did nothing to help the home town boys, who gave up another three goals in the second. The Huskies managed to light the lamp on a power play, another delayed penalty call and then finished the period off by plotting one with 37 seconds to go.
In another attempt to spark the team, combined with sure frustration, Regina’s Terrance DeLaronde tried to mix things up but unfortunately the refs would not allow it. Although everyone in the building would have appreciated a fight, nothing came of it except for a lengthy referee conference during which Jeopardy’s theme music began streaming through the airways.
The officiating was definitely questionable throughout the first two periods. Regina was handed five of the total six penalties in the first and the third was no different. The Cougars began the final frame with four players sitting in the box. How many did Saskatchewan have in their box? One. Judging by the seemingly one-sided officiating, it’s surprising that there was even one Husky in the box. The Huskies finally put the nail in the coffin, scoring one final goal in the third.
Sawka said that he really likes “the team’s work ethic this year,” so if the boys keep working hard, the next game will have a different outcome. Although the team would sooner forget about this loss in a hurry, they have a week off to think about it before they take on the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds at home on Oct. 29 and 30. The Cougars are currently in second place in the conference with a 3-3-0-0 record, but have at least two, if not four games on most teams. UBC sits in fifth with a 1-1-0-0 record.