The University of Calgary men's hockeysaurs had some tough competition during their home stand against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Oct. 19 and 20. The 4-0 Huskies added two more notches to their win column with their visit to Father David Bauer Arena, grinding out a 3-2 overtime victory in the series opener and a 4-3 win to close the series.
Husky Mason Wallin, who was key in his team's unbeaten streak to date, had the Dinos in his sights all night in the opening game. Wallin tallied points on each of the Husky goals Fri. night, scoring the tying and game-winning goals. The opening period was extremely fast-paced, but the game headed scoreless into the second period. The hockeysaurs were forced to demonstrate their strength on the penalty kill early on as Dino netminder Jordan McLaughlin was able to keep some hard, well-placed Husky shots out of the net.
The second period proved more exciting on both offensive ends, as Husky Steve Gillen opened the scoring with a powerplay goal with six minutes to go in the frame. The Dinos were not deterred, however, with Kyle Annesley tying up the score only 30 seconds later. Calgary's quick response demonstrated the effort being made by the team to avoid complacency on the ice, both when ahead and behind in the score.
"[We had been] taking things for granted and getting complacent, but overall the last couple weeks we have realized some of those things and are taking some good strides towards fixing them," explained Wheat.
Powerplay opportunities were aplenty for both sides, including two two-man advantages for the Dinos. Although they put considerable pressure on Husky goalie Jeff Harvey, the hockeysaurs were unable to capitalize. However, the Dinos held a considerable advantage in shot totals, leading the Huskies 24-14 midway through the final period, though none were more highlight-worthy than Dino Wade Davis' breakaway goal. Davis' backhanded beauty put his team ahead for the first time of the night and the hockeysaurs looked poised to end their recent run of bad luck.
But a sudden shift in momentum proved to be disastrous for the Dinos in the end. With only three minutes left in the contest, the Huskies took their game to the level which had thus far allowed them to remain undefeated. Wallin, with a minute and a half to go in the game, finally managed to solve McLaughlin and tie it up.
Overtime opened with the Dinos on a powerplay, which was quickly erased with Dino Barry Horman's visit to the penalty box resulting from a high stick. Wallin capitalized off of a blown offside call and put the puck top-shelf to keep his team undefeated. The hockeysaurs knew they had to pick up their game the next night to match what the Huskies are capable of.
Saturday's game was a battle with some scuffles taking place early in both the first and second periods. Scoring was a back-and-forth affair as Husky Jesse Zetariuk managed the first goal of the game off a Brett Parker feed with three minutes to go in the opening period. A second-period scuffle along the boards involving seven players seemed to get the Dinos revved up. Although the Dinos would come close to tying things up on multiple occasions, it was hockeysaur Jevon Desautels who brought his team even, scoring midway through the period. Husky Trent Adamus and Dino Paul Gentile both scored in the same period as the teams headed to the final period of the series knotted at two goals apiece.
Wheat put his team ahead with a powerplay goal midway through the period, but with only five and a half minutes to play the Dinos would give up their lead yet again. Overtime, during which the Dinos lacked a single shot, would solve nothing. Gillen able to converted on his attempt in the match, putting the biscuit past Dino netminder Scott Talbot and sweeping the Dinos under the rug.
One bright spot for the Dinos so far was Wheat's emergence as an offensive threat. After suffering a major shoulder injury last season, and undergoing rounds of physiotherapy and recovery, Wheat has managed to hit his stride and perform consistently on a nightly basis.
"[My] shoulder feels good and I'm pretty excited to play this year," said Wheat. "As far as playing, I'm playing on a really good line with Richards and Jorgenson, and we are putting some points on the board. It's only a matter of time before we start putting wins on the board too."
The Dinos need to start converting on their offensive opportunities, and soon, as they play host to the University of British Columbia Oct. 26 and 27. The hockeysaurs haven't had much success against the T-Birds as of late with UBC sweeping the Dinos in their only series last season.
"It takes more than just skill, you need hard work and passion from everyone on the team," commented Wheat. "We got better last weekend, and if we can improve on what we've done I think there is a good chance we can walk away with two wins against [University of British Columbia Thunderbirds]."