University of Calgary men's hockeysaurs fans can finally breathe a huge, long-awaited sigh of relief. The Dinos, at long last, managed to find their way back into the win column with style, as they swept the University of Manitoba Bisons during their Nov. 16-17 road trip to Winnipeg.
The series opener saw the Dinos snap their eight-game losing skid with a 6-4 victory over the Bisons and the hockeysaurs put their opponents away the following night in a 3-2 overtime win.
Friday kicked off with the return of two former professional players, as Jared Aulin, formerly of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, and goaltender Jeff Weber, from the ECHL's Long Beach Ice Dogs, hit the ice after completing their one year of CIS ineligibility. Aulin had a memorable return to the game, logging four assists in the final frame. Weber also picked up the win for the Dinos, making 13 saves on the night.
"[Aulin and Weber] joining our line up has helped a lot," commented Dinos forward Barry Horman. "Not only with the depth of our team but also with our confidence and it was evident right off the bat."
The game, however, didn't get interesting until the midway point of the second period. Dino Reid Jorgensen put a Torrie Wheat pass behind Bison netminder Krister Toews to draw first blood. The Bisons, however, were quick to respond, with Chris Falloon tying things up only two minutes later. Scoring became a back-and-forth affair for the rest of the second and beginning of the third periods, until Horman broke the trend with the team's fifth goal on the night.
"It's my third season now [and] there is a lot of expectations and responsibility to play consistently and play hard," explained Horman concerning his recent success. "This weekend it all came together, not only me who was just clicking, our powerhouse lines were all producing."
The Dinos heavily outshot the herd during the game, by an impressive 46-17 edge. Toews kept his team in the game throughout the contest, but Dinos Brett O'Malley and Horman had him figured out in a bad way. Each hockeysaur scored two goals on the night, including O'Malley's game winning goal with five minutes left in the final period. Horman scored an insurance goal with two minutes to play, buffering out the Bison's fourth and final goal in the last 15 seconds of the game.
The hockeysaurs' losing streak finally came to an end, but the Dinos weren't done yet. They opened the scoring again on Sat. night near the end of the first period, thanks to Dino Aaron Richard's powerplay goal. The game started slowly, but the scoring opportunity came off some rough play near the Bison goal, with the Dinos jamming Toews. After the misconducts were handed out, the Dinos found themselves with a useful man-advantage.
However, the Bisons were able to pick up their penalty kill in the next frame, surviving two Dino powerplays. The Bisons got their own back-to-back powerplays, but were unable to beat Weber in his second start between the pipes in as many nights. It wasn't until the Bisons sixth powerplay of the period, when the herd managed to get on the board thanks to Riley Dudar's conversion.
Teams exchanged goals for the rest of the night and Wheat continued his offensive success with a couple of assists on the night. The game headed into extra time with the squads locked at 2-2 and it was Jorgensen who put the Bisons away and helped the Dinos complete their sweep, as he scored his second goal of the series midway through overtime.
The Dinos now seem to have found a winning combination that will hopefully allow them to make a run at the top of the standings. They outshot the Bisons during both games and by a considerable margin. The hockeysaurs were also able to capitalise on the powerplay and kill off all but one penalty during the series. However, they were handed four game misconducts Sat. night and gave the Bisons more man-advantages than were merited.
"We, as a team, sat down and discussed how to change the streak that we were on," explained Horman. "It takes the whole team in order to succeed and not only did everyone play, but everyone played well."