By Carly Benson
A four-game Dinos losing skid ended with consecutive victories against the University of Regina Cougars Nov. 12-13. With a shut out on Friday night to secure the end of the losing streak, the Dinos finally managed a scoring outburst on Saturday with a 5-1 victory.
In the losses against the University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba the team was “having trouble scoring goals,” according to Head Coach Scott Atkinson. “We played very well and created many chances but our lack of finish around the net is costing us.”
Add this to the “bad luck” of deflecting four pucks into their own net and one can easily see why the Dinos have struggled recently.
Scoring droughts befall even the best teams, but for the Dinos it has cost them four games already. Saturday night’s flood of goals came as an obvious relief, as the Dinos matched their offensive output of the three previous games combined.
“We’ve got a couple of guys who haven’t scored as much as they are used to and they broke out this weekend,” said captain Bracken Kearns. The fourth-year forward contributed two assists to the resounding victory.
According to Coach Atkinson, hard work is his team’s trademark. Rather than dwell upon the difficulties they had with putting the puck in the net, the Dinos focused on what they did well during games, and built upon that. In retrospect, Wesley Reid figured the scoring drought was mostly mental and could be fixed in practice.
“We started to work on bearing down in practice, in taking pride in [the scoring] department,” he explained.
What was the major reason for the sudden change on the scoreboard? To Reid, it boiled down to one word: “confidence.”
Another factor contributing to the win was that the Dinos returned to Father David Bauer Arena.
“After a gruelling early schedule, it was nice to be at home,” commented Reid.
In Friday’s match, the Dinos struck first with a power-play marker by Wade Davis to get the early lead. They added to this at the end of the second, with Lonny Tetley picking up his second goal of the season. This proved to be sufficient, as the Dinos held the Cougars to only 19 shots, allowing Donald Choukalos to record the shut out.
On Saturday evening, the fireworks did not begin until nearly the halfway mark of the second period, with the Dinos already down 1-0. Capitalizing with the man advantage, Reid pulled the Dinos even with the Cougars. Forty seconds later, Alex Lalonde put Calgary ahead by one. By the end of the third period, Calgary had added another three goals to solidify the victory. Three players ended with multi-point outings: Reid had two goals and an assist, Kearns picked up a pair of assists, and Ryan Annesley added a goal and two assists.
These wins came in a timely manner, with the Dinos now at an even .500. The team gets a much-needed break this weekend, which gives them additional practice time so that they can bear down on what will be “the most important test of the year,” according to Reid.
On Nov. 26, the arch rival University of Alberta Golden Bears come to town with the Dinos travelling to their home for a game Nov. 27. The Golden Bears are currently ranked first in the Canada West division standings, eight points up on the Dinos. Still, Kearns is optimistic.
“We are confident that we can beat them,” he foretells.
Doing so would give the Dinos a winning record, getting them on track in their drive for a championship title.