After some early-season jitters, the University of Calgary Dinos women's hockey team has finally started to unleash their potential. The Dinos extended their winning streak to an impressive four games, sinking their teeth and claws into the Mount Royal College Cougars and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Trojans Nov. 24 and 25. After dropping their record to 3-5 early on, the Dinos bounced back with a bang and now sit in third place in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference with a record of 7-5.
The weekend began in an epic fashion versus MRC Fri. night. The Dinos trailed the first place powerhouse Cougars 3-0 going into the third period but accomplished the unthinkable, erasing the deficit to send the game into sudden death. Five minutes of overtime solved nothing but the lady hockeysaurs were too fired up to be denied victory, ripping apart their opponents in the shootout to cap off an amazing 5-4 comeback upset.
"It was one of the most fun games we ever played in," commented second-year geology student and Dinos defensive player Ali Webb. "We were not going to quit. Losing was never an option."
It was evident that the Dinos were still fired up from the win when they faced SAIT the very next day. The girls played with deep passion, staying determined through a storm of intensity and emotion en route to a well-deserved 3-1 win.
"It was a big weekend for us," remarked head coach Danielle Goyette. "Every time we step on the ice, it's that moment that you think about. The girls stayed focused on every shift and saw results."
The game versus SAIT was an extensively physical affair, embodying the true nature of a rivalry. The Dinos seemed to adapt more quickly to the larger and unaccustomed ice surface of Father David Bauer Arena as SAIT became frustrated early, spending a large portion of the period on the penalty kill.
The Dinos opened scoring in the game, capitalizing on some of their power play time 43 seconds into the second. Webb, taking advantage of all the newfound open ice, carried the puck through the neutral zone, sped past her defender on the wing, and fired a strong backhand as she powered towards the Trojans net. The Trojan netminder stopped the shot but Dinos forward Lianne Legere was rewarded for following the play, winning a tough battle in front of the net and banging home the rebound.
"I was driving hard and saw the puck," Legere said. "It came out to me and I just finished."
SAIT's parade to the penalty box only increased from there and the Dinos made them pay for it once again when defender Kimberly Maier blasted a cannon of a one-timer behind goaltender Lindsay Coghlan to put her team up 2-0. The Trojans goon squad showed a total lack of discipline on the day as they surrendered twelve minor penalties to the Dinos' power play, which is ranked first in the ACAC, but stayed alive thanks to the aggressive pressure of their penalty killers. That aggression paid off late in the third as Trojan forward Chilla Fedoruk, moments after exiting the penalty box, forced a turnover in front of the Dinos net and scored to cut the lead to 2-1 late in the second. That's as close as the defending champion Trojans came, as the Dinos weren't fooled by any wooden horse shenanigans and held their enemies at the gates throughout the third before scoring an empty-netter to finish the game 3-1.
The win for the Dinos came at a heavy cost, as the mood of the game turned sour early in the third when U of C forward Cat McMechan was driven hard into the boards behind the opponent's net with yet another body check, which SAIT was penalized for three separate times in the loss. The blow knocked McMechan unconscious, stopping play for several minutes while she was attended to by team and rink trainers. EMS carried her off the ice on a stretcher before rushing her to nearby Foothills Hospital.
With the upset wins this weekend, the four-game winning streak and surpassing of SAIT for third place the Dinos are now the hottest team in the ACAC.