By Mike Flach
After an incredibly slow start against Regina, the Dinos kicked it into high gear last weekend, giving the Cougars a lesson in what it feels like to get stomped. The Dinos faltered on Friday in Strathmore to a 2-2 tie, but annihilated last place Regina the following night in Okotoks 5-2. The venue change was due to figure skating at the Father David Bauer Arena over the weekend. Getting only 3 out of 4 points on the weekend could have hurt the Dinos, if it wasn’t for Lethbridge (just behind the Dinos in the standings) losing both their games.
"It could have been a pretty costly point to give up, it ended up it didn’t hurt us," commented head coach Tim Bothwell.
All the goals scored Friday night were on the powerplays, with Regina getting up 2-0, scoring only 28 seconds into the second.
"We weren’t very good," said Bothwell. "We weren’t prepared mentally, we didn’t work hard enough."
Calgary’s goals Friday were scored by Kevin Woit and Sheldon Nedjelski, who has been hampered this year with a shoulder injury.
While Bothwell wasn’t impressed with his team’s physical effort, he did notice some positive aspects.
"We created lots of chances, we did a pretty good job of moving the puck on the powerplay," commented Bothwell. "We just didn’t finish often enough and gave up two powerplay goals."
"We dug ourselves a bit of a hole, I think we really carried it to them after that, we had a few powerplay chances," remarked net minder Scott Rideout. "Their goalie had a great weekend, something we didn’t expect. We couldn’t get any bounces around the net."
Rideout suggested that the tremendous effort put forth by the team against University of Alberta last week, and not getting the results they were hoping for, created the poor start to the weekend.
"We really poured our hearts out for the U of A weekend. We were a little bit mentally spent," said Rideout. "I think it really showed, we had a lousy week at practice."
That lack of enthusiasm and jump showed heavily in the first period of Friday’s game.
"On Saturday, we played light-years differently," said Bothwell. "Just about everybody was good. It was a good game for us, in terms of the intensity level."
Calgary opened the scoring at 10:46 of the first with a goal by Matt Holmes, then Tom Malin added another at 19:19. Calgary jumped to a 3-0 lead with a power-play goal by John Taggart in the second. Regina netted their first with a powerplay goal with just under 3 minutes remaining in the second, but their enthusiasm was dashed as Eoin Colquhoun scored at 4:51 in the third. Another Calgary penalty allowed Regina to score their final goal.
Colquhoun responded yet again about 10 minutes later, with his second goal with only 17 seconds remaining in the game.
"Carrying on to Saturday, we realized that we had tied a team that we needed to beat, giving Lethbridge and Manitoba a chance to catch us," said Rideout. "The guys really rebounded from that, thinking that we need to win."
"We had people that were skating, and moved the puck very well, and created lots of opportunities. It was a good solid game," said Bothwell. The shots on goal tell what kind of night it was for Regina’s goalie Scott Roberts. Calgary had a whopping 46 to Regina’s measly 25.
"It’s a small rink, we shot the puck a lot and hit the net a lot. We just kind of dominated the game for long stretches," remarked Bothwell.
Rideout played a couple of excellent games, facing 31 shots on Friday. His excellent play in the last couple of weeks has kept the Dinos close when the team hasn’t been playing as sharply as they could.
"[Rideout] played really well again, he stopped a couple breakaways and two good scoring chances late in the game," said Bothwell. "In overtime, he made four key saves in the last couple minutes of the game to let us take the point away."
The University of Saskatchewan Huskies are up this weekend, both games being played at home. It should prove a challenge–the Huskies are just behind U of A in the standings.