By Mike Flach
The Dinos laid the smack down last weekend and forced the UBC Thunderbirds and Regina Cougars into submission, while being narrowly smothered by the York Yeomen.
The Dinos men’s hockey team came out of the weekend first place tie in the Vancouver Father David Bauer Invitational tournament with a 2-1 record. The weekend started off poorly with a loss to York, but was much jiggier after stomping
UBC and spanking Regina. Even after an early lead in the 5-4 loss to York, the Dinos couldn’t keep the Yeomen down.
"We really should have won the game. We were up 3-1," remarked head coach Tim Bothwell. "We played a very good first period, but didn’t have enough killer instinct after that."
The killer instinct was there against the host Thunderbirds.
"We generally played well," said Bothwell. "We played probably our best 60-minute game of the year on Saturday against UBC"
In the 5-2 win, the Dinos came out of a 2-2 second period to score three unanswered goals in the third.
Sunday was not sacred; the Dinos drew first blood in the first period and led 4-1 coming out of the first. Each team scored twice in the second, and the third was scoreless. The result: Dinos 6, Cougars 3.
"We could be better than we were [against Regina], but we played a good game," said Bothwell.
With the injuries the Dinos have incurred this early in the season, the team came out of the weekend looking good.
"On the whole, a pretty good weekend, especially considering we only had four defensemen," remarked Bothwell, who moved Trevor Segstro back to the blueline. "He’s still trying to learn the position back there, [but] he did a pretty good job."
The team has scrambled to fill in their depleted defense resources. Segstro, a forward, has filled in back, but Bothwell is looking around for additional forces.
"We’re going to be adding a defenseman who has played with the Royals the last few years, Brad Stroich," said Bothwell. "That affords us the opportunity to put Segstro up in front, where we really need and want him."
Other players that stood out over the weekend were captain Judd Casper, who showed good leadership skills, tournament MVP Eric Schneider, and Matt Holmes.
"[Schneider] and [Holmes] did a really good job on the powerplay," said Bothwell. "[Schneider] had a pretty good weekend, he can still be a better player than he’s shown."
The coach has even higher expectations of last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union
All-Canadian and freshman-of-
"He’s still challenging himself.
His work ethic is really good," said Bothwell.
As for Holmes, the coach has seen an improvement.
"[Holmes] has really been a breath of fresh air this year. His
attitude’s completely different, much more positive." said Bothwell. "He’s working harder, and it shows in his play."
The goaltending situation
is strong again this year, and the team played a different goalie for each of the three games. Veteran Scott Rideout started in the loss to York, but still had a good game.
"[Rideout] really made four or five outstanding saves in the first two periods," said Bothwell. "The winning goal was a pretty soft one, kind of a crazy bouncing deflection, and I’m sure he’d like to have that one back."
Tyler Nilsson played against UBC on Saturday, and faced only 17 shots, as opposed to the 32 Calgary took.
"[Nilsson] didn’t get tested a whole lot," said Bothwell. "He moved the puck well, made quick intelligent decisions moving the puck, which is very helpful."
Sunday was Paul Klemke’s turn to shine.
"[Klemke] didn’t have a ton of work either," commented Bothwell. "In terms of his play, positioning, balance and puck handling wasn’t as good as he’d like to be. Probably just an average performance."
While winning at the tournament was great for the team, Bothwell is cautious about predicting for the year, because the strongest teams in the conference weren’t at the FDB tournament.
"They will probably be the weaker teams, to this point," remarked Bothwell. "UBC has some injury problems, I think they’re not a bad team. Regina is not a strong team this year. Although its nice to win on the weekend, I don’t think we need to be raising any banners."
The next obstacle for the Dinos will be the Brandon Bobcats in this weekend’s season opener.
"It’s a big weekend for us. We can’t afford to be giving points away," said Bothwell. "Brandon’s a pretty good team, they were a decent team last year and gave us problems. This will be a good test for us. I certainly feel if we play well we should win. When we’re really working hard, we’re a pretty effective team, but if our work level drops even a notch, we’re pretty vulnerable."
"Brandon was a good competitive team last year, and they beat us a couple times last year so we don’t want to look past them in any way, shape or form," said Bothwell.
Game time on Friday and Saturday is 7 p.m. at the Father David Bauer Arena. All Dinos games are free, so suck it up and enjoy hockey of a higher calibre than that which is played by the Flames.