Lady Dinos are aces of ACAC

By Chris Pedersen

Grant MacEwan has flashier jerseys and socks that are modern, streamlined and flashy, but everyone knows that the aesthetics of a team only carry it so far. The Dinos women’s hockey jerseys, on the other hand, have not received the upgrade that is deserved, but there is little upgrade needed for their skills.

On an exciting Friday night at the Olympic Oval, the Dinos did what was expected and defeated the Grant MacEwan Griffins 2-1. The Dinos followed up the win with a 2-1 victory in the rematch in Edmonton on Saturday.

The Dinos controlled the scoreboard for 59 minutes on Friday, only allowing one late goal.

“Although we had some ups and downs, in the end, we pulled it off,” said Dinos forward Shelby Davey.

Throughout the last several years, the Dinos have faced a tough test in the Griffins, who step up their play when visiting the Oval.

“I’m not too sure about in the past, but I feel we have been able to handle them this year,” said Davey. “I don’t see any challenge with them.”

Defenceman Danielle Braaten also expressed her feelings regarding the Griffins and the Dinos inconsistencies.

“The thing is, we have been off our game since Christmas,” said Braaten. “We have been really inconsistent and I guess every team has been a struggle so far. We play a good first period and then shit the bed in the second period.”

The goal lights did not flash often on Friday, but both teams had numerous scoring chances. Goalies Katie Urness of the Dinos and Alycia Monahan of the Griffins made tremendous saves, keeping the game tight.

In the first period, the Dinos missed a big opportunity to score, as Monahan was lying on the ground in the crease after making a save, and the puck was shot towards the gaping net. It hit a defenceman at the last minute, saving an almost sure goal for the Dinos. The Dinos outshot the Griffins 9-4 and the teams went to the locker rooms tied at zero.

The board-shaking hits happened early in the second when Dinos forward Erin Davidson drove behind the Griffins net, where she was checked, head first, into the boards. Davidson would be fine and she immediately jumped up and continued play. That hit sparked the Dinos momentarily, and on a four-on-three powerplay, Shannon Davidson got revenge, putting the puck through Monahan’s five-hole for the first goal of the game. The goal provided some relief for the Dinos, who looked overwhelmed at the end of the period.

“The first two periods were pretty shaky,” said Braaten. “It kind of got scary, but we pulled it off again, another W, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The game turned interesting in the third as the teams battled hard, barely giving an inch. The Dinos took the first chance, but the shot bounced off Monahan’s glove, went straight in the air, and with Monahan looking around for the puck, it bounced just inside the post, on top of the net. It was as close as a team can get to scoring– without scoring.

The Dinos responded positively and only moments later Davey redirected a Braaten point shot past Monahan. Davey was modest about the goal after the game.

“I just try and get the puck on my stick and hopefully it goes somewhere good,” she said.

The goal provided the Dinos with some needed breathing room on the scoreboard. The teams traded breakaways close to the end of the period, with both goalies making difficult saves to preserve the score.

The Dinos were able to stymie the Griffin’s offence until just over a minute left in the third. The Dinos took a penalty and with their goalie pulled, the Griffins were able to score a late goal to make the game interesting.

Right from the faceoff the Griffins crowded the net, and after the initial shot, Leanna Kordyban took the rebound and blasted it past Urness.

“Oh God,” said Braaten. “We had a setup that we were supposed to do, a certain play, and right from faceoff, it screwed up and we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off.”

The goal inspired the Griffins and they continued to put pressure on the Dinos for the remaining minute, but were unable to the score. The Dinos held on and came away with the win.

The Dinos have two games left before the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference playoffs, both against the SAIT Trojans.

“We’re just keeping up our training and we will get back to the team we used to be before the Christmas break,” said Braaten.

The Dinos have a first-round bye and host the ACAC semi-finals. It will be a tough road for the Dinos through the playoffs, but they are confident and looking to improve upon last year’s second place finish to the Griffins.

“I’m feeling good because I have confidence in these girls,” said Davey. “In the end, we pull it through, as you guys have seen. We’ll do well and make a run for it.”

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