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the Gauntlet

Dinos split weekend set

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The University of Calgary men's hockeysaurs headed east to face the reigning Canada West champs, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, in their Jan. 12-13 series at the Rutherford Rink. The Dinos, who just came off a two-game sweep of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds the weekend before, were looking to extend their six-game winning streak. Friday night's contest went in the Dinos' favour, as they were victorious over the Huskies in a 5-4 shootout victory. But Sat. night's game spelled the end of the Dinos winning times, as the Huskies beat the hockeysaurs by a 5-2 count.

The 10th-ranked Dinos, who were swept earlier in the season by the fourth-ranked Huskies, were in for a tough matchup against their flatland opponents. The Huskies and Dinos faced off Oct. 19 and 20 with the Huskies taking both games, as they opened the series by defeating the Dinos 3-2 in overtime and 4-3 in a shootout the following night. Following the sweep, the Huskies went on a rampage as they kept pace with the top-ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears. As the Huskies prepared to host the Dinos this past weekend, they had also just come off of a two-game sweep the previous weekend, over the University of Regina Cougars. It was time for one of the red-hot teams to cool off. The question remained as to who would be so unfortunate. By the end of the weekend, it was both.

Defence was the Huskies' primary reason for their success this season, as their defensive line was allowing less than 2.5 goals per game. On the other hand, the Dinos were proving to be an offensive powerhouse, scoring an average of nearly six goals per game since former NHL-er Jared Aulin became eligible Nov. 12. Aulin's efforts were recently rewarded, as he was named Canada West and CIS athlete of the week after his eight points against UBC the previous weekend. Dino goaltending was also key to the hockeysaurs' turn-around, with the addition of Jeff Weber to the lineup as of his own eligibility Nov. 12. This series was going to be a battle and hockey fans were not disappointed.

Dino captain Ryan Annesley opened the scoring 18 seconds into Fri. night's game with an even-strength goal. The Dinos quickly added to their lead and the Huskies found themselves in a 0-3 hole as the first period was winding down. The momentum shifted in the Huskies' favour before they headed into the locker room, however, as Trent Adamus scored in the dying seconds of the frame.

The second period was all Huskies, as Dino Aaron Richards' hooking penalty allowed Huskies Mason Wallin to cut the hockeysaurs' lead to a single goal. Less than four minutes later, the game was tied up at three apiece and the Dinos knew they had to get their heads back in it before their complacency allowed their winning streak to end.

Each team scored once in the final frame, making overtime a necessity. The extra five minutes solved nothing, but the Dinos were able to perform in the shoot out. Dino Kyle Annesley scored first and Aulin also converted on his attempt. Then, the Huskies missed both their shots the hockeysaurs extended their winning streak to seven games and headed into the following game looking for more.

Saturday night saw the Huskies get on the board first with Casey Lee scoring on even strength. Aulin tied things up at the halfway mark, but the Dinos wouldn't score again until Torrie Wheat's third-period goal. A minute and a half into the second period, the Huskies were up 3-1, but the Dinos were given a powerplay and an opportunity to pull within a goal. However, Wheat was charged with a holding penalty halfway through the Huskies' four-minute major and the Dinos were not able to capitalize. Wallin's second goal of the game came in the final frame and ended the chance for a hockeysaur comeback, and snapped the Dinos' winning streak.

The defeat drops the Dinos to 8-6-4 and third place in the Canada West conference. Next up for the hockeysaurs is the Battle of Alberta. The Dinos will host the University of Alberta Golden Bears Jan. 18-19 and are looking to defeat the Pandas for the first time this season. The Bears swept the Dinos earlier in the season during a home-and-home series, but they will be facing a very different group of hockeysaurs this time around. However, the Pandas just swept the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns last weekend and may have momentum on their side.

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