Huskies aim to fill holes in ros­ter with new re­cruits

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - SPORTS - DAR­REN ZARY dzary@post­

Big-time de­par­tures.

Huge holes.

On pa­per, the Univer­sity of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team needed some new pieces to re­build — or re-load, as head coach Dave Adolph likes to say.

The pro­gram grad­u­ated U Sports top goal­tender Jor­don Cooke, de­fence­men Ken­dall McFaull, Con­nor Cox, Jor­dan Fran­soo and Macken­zie John­ston, plus for­wards Josh Roach and John Lawrence.

“I’ve lis­tened to some of the prog­nos­ti­ca­tors out there,” Adolph said this week, “and we’ve lost prob­a­bly the best goalie in the coun­try and prob­a­bly the top cap­tain in the coun­try. We lost prob­a­bly the best ju­nior A (prod­uct) and first team all-star in Josh Roach. Con­nor Cox is a tremen­dous power play guy. Johnny Lawrence was prob­a­bly our most sta­ble for­ward the five years he was here.

“So we should fin­ish sev­enth, but I don’t think we will.”

The Hockey Dogs have added seven new re­cruits and a red­shirt from last sea­son to fill the holes.

Travis Child, for­merly of the Western Hockey League’s Ed­mon­ton Oil Kings, joins holdovers Taran Kozun and backup Brett Lewchuk in net.

On the back end, new­com­ers in­clude former Saska­toon Blades cap­tain Evan Fiala (Clavet), Kelowna Rock­ets as­sis­tant cap­tain Gordie Ball­horn ( We­taski­win, Alta.), former Prince Ge­orge Cougar and On­tario Hockey League Lon­don Knight Shane Collins (Rose­town) and 2017-18 red­shirt Ken­dall Fran­soo (Bat­tle­fords) from the Saskatchewan Ju­nior Hockey League’s Bat­tle­fords North Stars. They join re­turnees Jesse Forsberg, Colby Harmsworth, Tan­ner Lishchyn­sky and Sam Ruopp. Forsberg, who is en­ter­ing his fifth and fi­nal sea­son at the U of S, is the Huskies’ new cap­tain.

“We lost four de­fence­men and we had one red­shirt from last sea­son in Ken­dall Fran­soo and we added three, so we have four new guys com­ing in,” noted Adolph, whose team is in Regina this week­end for a pair of ex­hi­bi­tion games Fri­day against the Univer­sity of Regina Cougars and Satur­day against the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba Bisons.

Up front, among the new faces is blue-chip re­cruit Dono­van Neuls from the WHL’s Seat­tle Thun­der­birds. Neuls, a Gren­fell prod­uct, was an as­sis­tant cap­tain in Seat­tle. He had 22 goals and 54 as­sists for 76 points in 71 reg­u­lar-sea­son games dur­ing the 2017-18 sea­son.

Neuls, who played four sea­sons in the WHL, is ex­pected to fill the void left by Lawrence.

Former top-tier SJHLers Layne

Young and Dakota Boutin also join the Huskies. Young, who was the top player in the SJHL last sea­son as cap­tain of the Bat­tle­fords North Stars, had his pick of NCAA Di­vi­sion One schools but chose to stay close to home.

Young, a na­tive of French­man Butte, had 107 points (35 goals and 72 as­sists) in 57 reg­u­lar-sea­son games in 2017-18.

Boutin, who had an NCAA Di­vi­sion One schol­ar­ship lined up at North­ern Michi­gan Univer­sity, is a former Telus Cup na­tional cham­pi­onship hero who played for the SJHL’s Melfort Mus­tangs be­fore fin­ish­ing his ju­nior A ca­reer with the BCHL’s Pen­tic­ton Vees.

Boutin had three con­sec­u­tive 20goal sea­sons in the ju­nior A ranks.

Along with the new­com­ers, the Hockey Dogs are hop­ing to wel­come back former WHL Red Deer Rebel Wy­att John­son into the lineup af­ter an in­jury-short­ened sea­son.

Kohl Bauml, Lo­gan McVeigh, Michael Sofil­las and Levi Ca­ble also re­turn to the team along with fel­low for­wards Jor­dan Tkatch, Collin Shirley, Con­nor Gay, Carter Folk, Car­son Stad­nyk, Jaimen Yakubowski, An­drew John­son, Parker Thomas and Alex Forsberg.

The Huskies are car­ry­ing a ros­ter of 28 play­ers — three goalies, eight de­fence­men and 17 for­wards — into the pre-sea­son.

Saskatchewan will play host to a pair of ex­hi­bi­tion games next week­end, Sept. 22-23, against the Univer­sity of Cal­gary Di­nos and York Univer­sity Lions. Game-time is 3 p.m. Satur­day against the Di­nos and 6 p.m. Sun­day against the Lions.

Both of those games will be played at Rutherford Rink to give the Dog­house a fi­nal send-off.

The U of S Huskies are set to play their first two home games of the Canada West con­fer­ence reg­u­lar sea­son on Fri­day Oct. 12 and Satur­day, Oct. 13 at the new Merlis Belsher Place against the Cal­gary Di­nos.

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