Go from dud to stud in three weeks.
If this sounds like the beginning of every bad infomercial concerning balding men and spray-on hair, it should. It might also sound like a hockey team that was 2-4-0 only three weeks ago, that has now rattled off four straight wins earning themselves seven votes, ranking them just out of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top-10 standings.
Over the four-game stretch, they've amassed a total of nine power play goals, and two short-handed tallies, proving just how important special teams can be. Combine that with the back-end presence of a solid defence, and a netminding tandem that has allowed the second-fewest goals against in Canada West, and suddenly this season has more than just a silver lining.
After a week layoff for the Dinos, giving the players a chance to heal, there wasn't any sign of rust Fri., Nov. 14. The University of Regina Cougars looked sluggish and disorganized, allowing the Dinos to jump out to an early two-goal lead.
A minute long mental lapse midway through the second period saw the Cougars answer back with a pair, obliterating the Dinos' lead. Even after the quick strikes, the Dinos stuck to their game plan and didn't panic.
They were rewarded with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, as Jordan Walker scored on a howitzer of a goal from just inside the blue-line that Cougar goalie Shaun Lee is still looking for.
Cue the Aaron Baker show.
He made save upon great save in the remaining time to allow Ken McKay to record his league-leading eighth goal of the season into an empty net, locking up the victory.
Sat., Nov. 15 had nowhere near the suspense, but it did have a whole truck load of penalties. A grand total of 16 penalties to each side really took away from the pace of the game. They did, however, give the Dinos' red-hot special teams a chance to bury the wounded Cougs before the start of the third. Three unanswered goals in the second frame made the score 5-2 in favour of the Dinos who never looked back, cruising to a 5-3 win.
Aside from the overall strength of the top line, a couple of Dinos with impressive weekends on both sides of the ice were veterans Sheldon Nedjelski and Lonnie Tetley. Nedjelski recorded four assists in the sweep, and was accountable at both ends of the ice while the hard working Tetley added some offence as he notched a pair of assists Saturday night.
The Dinos travel to the flatlands Nov. 21-22 to face the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in a rematch of the series split earlier in the season. Plenty of rough stuff is expected between these two rivals, which should play into the hands of the DinosÂ--if they remain disciplined.
The emergence of the powerplay unit has really given the team a new scoring dimension, which could be just what they need to run their winning streak to six games and make the incredibly boring bus trip to Toon Town much more enjoyable.