Saturday, 11 February 2017

Skills Competition Winner

I'll be honest in saying that I don't talk much about Canadian university men's hockey. I had the privilege of doing the broadcasts for the Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team this weekend, and I have to say that things were far different from calling the women's action. There were over 100 minutes in penalties last night, and tonight's game saw some of the bad blood between Alberta and Manitoba carry over. That being said, there's a lot of skilled players in USports Men's Hockey, and one such case came from a city not too far from the Manitoba campus as the Lakehead University Thunderwolves from Thunder Bay, Ontario hit all the highlight reels!

If you've never heard of Lakehead University, you're probably in the majority. I know of it due to a reader who sends me info about the team, but I'll fully admit that I've never really paid much attention to the Thunderwolves simply because they play in a different conference than the Manitoba Bisons. Last night, however, Grant Valiquette put Lakehead on the map with his move against the Western Mustangs in the shootout!
Grant Valiquette's baseball shot might be one of the best shootout goals you'll see all year! Valiquette beat Western's Lucas Peressini for the only goal of the shootout for either squad, and it gave Lakehead an important 6-5 victory. That move is pretty crazy when you consider that Peressini tried to glove it before Valiquette batted it out of the air. Something like that would never even occur to me as an option when it comes to a shootout move. That's creativity at its finest, folks!

Valiquette is no stranger when it comes to Manitoba. He played parts of three seasons in the MJHL with the OCN Blizzard before finishing his MJHL career with the Portage Terriers. All told, he recorded 42 goals and 91 assists with 82 penalty minutes in 164 MJHL regular season games. That's a solid career, and now the freshman is in his first OUA season where he's pursuing an education degree. Thus far, he's recorded five goals and 13 assists - including a goal in the first period and an assist in the third period in win over Western - to go along with eight penalty minutes in 31 games for the Thunderwolves thus far.

While there aren't always highlight-reel goals like this in university hockey, there's a lot of great hockey you may be missing. Lakehead plays against Western again tonight with a chance to catch Windsor and Waterloo to setup a tie-breaking scenario among the three teams. Perhaps Valiquette will play the hero again!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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