THUNDER BAY, Ont. - Mark Soares OT shootout goal proved the winner for the No. 7 Lakehead Thunderwolves as they won their third consecutive game in OT, and second straight in an overtime shootout; defeating the No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies 5-4 Monday night in the night game of Day 3 of the TBaytel Varsity Cup men's hockey tournament at the Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The win gives the Wolves, already assured a spot in Tuesday night's tourney championship final, a 3-0 tourney record in round robin play and six points while Saskatchewan finishes tournament play with three points; good for second spot and the other berth in the tournament final.

Monday night's thriller can be looked upon as a preview for the championship game and if Monday was any indication; Tuesday's final will be another dogfight.

Fans got to see a very fast and hard hitting match with a number of good goals as well as some excellent goaltending from both Lakehead's Chris Whitley and Saskatchewan's Jeff Harvey. Both netminders made a number of big saves to keep the thriller going. Lakehead outshot the Huskies 45-35 on the night. The Wolves Whitley played a very strong game, getting his second win of the tourney, and was very sharp in the shootout round stopping all three Saskatchewan shooters.

The game got a little nasty at times from both sides and 23 penalties were called. The Wolves power play was also strong as they went 3-of-13 while the Huskies were 1-of-10.

Lakehead was led by Dan Speer with two goals and one assist and Brock McPherson with one goal and two assists; both continuing their strong tourney play. The Wolves other goal came from Andy Hyvarinen. Saskatchewan's goals came from Steve Gillen, Casey Lee, Michael Kaye, and Brad Erickson. Derek Endicott had a pair of assists.

The Molson's Three Stars were:

1) Lakehead: Dan Speer

2) Lakehead: Brock McPherson

3) Lakehead: Mark Soares

Lakehead remembers all too well last year's Varsity Cup tourney when they won all three games in round robin play but fell 7-6 in the OT championship game to Manitoba and Lakehead will be working extra hard in this year's final to get a better outcome while the Huskies will be hunting to give Canada West teams their second consecutive TBaytel Varsity Cup title.

The championship final will be webcast live with ordering info available at http://events.news-cast.com/events/Lakehead.

Live stats for the TBaytel Varsity Cup championship final (and all games) can be found at http://www.leaguestat.com/tbaytelvc/varsitycup/en/stats/schedule.php.

Video game reports for the night games can be found at www.thunderwolves.ca and www.thunderwolveshockey.com.

TBayTel Varsity Cup Schedule

Dec. 30:
7:30 pm EST: Championship Final
Lakehead vs. Saskatchewan

Game Summary:

University of Saskatchewan Huskies 4 at Lakehead University Thunderwolves 5 (SO)
Dec 29, 2008
1st Period
Scoring – 1. U of Saskatchewan, C. Lee (1) (D. Endicott, C. Greenan) 3:11 PP
2. U of Saskatchewan, B. Erickson (1) 13:30
3. Lakehead U, B. McPherson (4) (D. Speer) 19:13 PP
Penalties - A. Alphonso Lku (slashing) 2:02, Z. Sim Usk (roughing) 6:09, M. Hinz Usk (holding) 11:21, A. Alphonso Lku (high sticking) 14:23, P. Guilbault Lku (hooking) 15:40, C. Simpson Usk (bench minor) 17:44

2nd Period
Scoring – 4. Lakehead U, D. Speer (2) (S. Dobben) 9:19 PP
5. Lakehead U, A. Hyvaranen (1) (B. McPherson, J. Smith) 11:07
Penalties - C. Simpson Usk (hooking) 0:31, R. Baird Lku (hooking) 4:29, D. Speer Lku (tripping) 7:06, C. Greenan Usk (hooking) 7:52, A. Brown Lku (boarding) 8:22, D. Endicott Usk (boarding) 9:02, Z. Sim Usk (unsportsmanlike cnd.) 9:48, S. Dobben Lku (hooking) 9:48, B. Erickson Usk (slashing) 13:11, B. Erickson Usk (cross checking) 16:23, D. Endicott Usk (cross checking) 17:24

3rd Period
Scoring – 6. U of Saskatchewan, M. Kaye (1) (C. Durand, C. Patterson) 4:29
7. Lakehead U, D. Speer (3) (B. McPherson, B. Wilson) 17:33 PP
8. U of Saskatchewan, S. Gillen (2) (S. DaSilva, D. Endicott) 18:48
Penalties - S. Dobben Lku (hooking) 0:10, C. Whitley Lku (delay of game) 0:34, D. Kivell Lku (high sticking) 0:59, S. Gillen Usk (unsportsmanlike cnd.) 5:40, C. Greenan Usk (hooking) 16:14, J. Zetariuk Usk (cross checking) 19:57

OT Period
Scoring - No Scoring
Penalties - M. Hinz Usk (interference) 3:40, M. Soares Lku (holding) 8:20

Round 1 - USK - Casey Lee - No
Round 1 - LKU - Andy Hyvaranen - No
Round 2 - USK - Colin Patterson - No
Round 2 - LKU - Mark Soares - Yes
Round 3 - USK - Chris Durand - No

USK Shots: 17 6 11 1 0 TOTAL: 35
LKU Shots: 12 16 9 7 1 TOTAL: 45

Power Play Conversion
University of Saskatchewan Huskies 1-10. Lakehead University Thunderwolves 3-13.

University of Saskatchewan Huskies
Harvey 0-0-0-1 Start: 1st 0:00 Min: 68:20 SV: 40 GA: 4 [SL]
Lakehead University Thunderwolves
Whitley 2-0-0-0 Start: 1st 0:00 Min: 68:20 SV: 31 GA: 4 [W]

Source: Thunderwolves Athletics

Photo Credit: Mike Lavoie