There’s no place like home

By Darren Friesen

Home ice advantage had no real significance for the University of Calgary men’s hockey team this year. Thus far, all their games except for their home opener against the University of Alberta saw them playing on the road. Therefore, it was time to test out what sort of edge they could have on opposing teams in their own barn.

Captain Judd Casper had some thoughts on last weekend’s play on home ice.

"We’re a talented offensive team, and the big ice definitely works to our advantage," he stated. "That and the fact that we don’t have to sit on a bus for 10 hours helps."

Playing at home proved just the right ingredient for a team that now looks to be more confident than ever in its style of play. Visiting Father David Bauer last weekend were the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. This was the first time these two teams met this year.

The Dinos wasted no time welcoming the visitors. With Tyler Nillsen guarding the pipes for the U of C, the Dinos were able to manufacture a dominating first two periods on Friday, from which the T-birds were unable to recover.

Relentless offence, solid defence and strong physical play were all the combined attributes of a team that was clearly more skilled than the opposing ‘Birds. This time Calgary was not going to allow an early 4-0 lead slip away like the week prior in Saskatchewan. Certifying the U of C’s momentum was Ron Grimmard, who at the 9:39 mark stopped play indefinitely with a textbook hit while killing a penalty. The Dinos won the game 7-0.

Forward Colin Embley was pleased with his team’s performance.

"We came out flying in the first game," he said. "The powerplay was really working well for us this weekend."

So well in fact that Embley was able to produce a total of five goals on the weekend and was named the CIAU’s Canada West player of the week for his effort.

Saturday night’s affair started with the Dinos placing the first three markers on the board. However, this matchup wasn’t as easy as the night before. The Thunderbirds managed to eventually ignite their offence and put some pucks behind starter Scott Rideout, but their effort was in vain as the Dinos offence managed once again to fill the opposing net. The game ended 6-4.

Home ice secured the much-needed four points for the U of C. They now head out to Manitoba for a weekend series.

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