The Saint Mary’s Huskies are halfway to the championship game at the University Cup in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The third-ranked Huskies won their opener at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s hockey championship on Thursday, defeating the No. 6 McGill Redmen 4-1.
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The win puts the Huskies in the driver’s seat in Pool B, and another victory on Saturday against the Western Ontario Mustangs puts them in Sunday’s national final.
“If we didn’t win this game, the chances of going to the final aren’t there,” said Huskies head coach Trevor Stienburg. “We did what we had to do. The guys played well for 60 minutes. Our backs are against the wall on Saturday again.”
The Redmen must have missed the scouting report on the Huskies’ devastating power play that converted at nearly a 30-per cent clip in Atlantic University Sport. They took eight trips to the penalty box and the Huskies scored three times with the man advantage, including the game’s opening two goals.
“In all fairness, our guys were very difficult to contain,” Stienburg said, noting that two of the penalties were too-many-men-on-the-ice calls. “We were physical, we held the puck down low, and to control us, they took some penalties.”
Second-team all-Canadian blue-liner Andrew Hotham scored twice and forwards Cody Thornton and Cam Fergus had singles, while Fall River goalie Brandon Verge made 19 saves.
Western Ontario, ranked second, won the Ontario championship after posting a 19-7-2 regular-season record. If the Mustangs lose to the Redmen on Friday, it puts the Huskies in an even better position heading into Saturday.
Stienburg said his players should be ready for a team that plays a different style than the small, quick Redmen.
“They score more, they’re a little more physical,” Stienburg said. “They’re a little more like us than McGill.”
In Pool A action on Thursday, the … save about 50 words at the end of this for the V-Reds-Golden Bears result.