Here's a metaphor that will fill your heart with gladness: The Dino men's hockey team is like a passenger train barreling through the Rockies. Oh, they look good, don't they? Shiny, fast, smooth, so powerful. They're off to the national championship in their shiny train. Choo choo! And then, out of nowhere, a bear runs onto the tracks. Smack. Train derails. All that finesse, all that power, all that promise, derailed by a bear. In this case, an arrogant little green bear long-time fans at the University of Calgary have come to revile, a sneering pug-nosed pest with cerebral-palsy and a Shriner's fez, a stinky, greasy, disease and lice-ridden little creature named... Guba.
All literary preambles aside, you need to know this: Last weekend, the sixth-ranked Dinos played the University of Alberta Golden Bears and dropped both games, 4-3 in overtime in Edmonton on Friday and 2-1 the following night in Calgary. With the season officially half-finished, the Dinos drop to seventh in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport standings. The bad news (hope you're sitting down) is that Saturday's loss to the Bears is the Dino's 21st such loss in a row including non-conference play. Yes, that's right. The Dinos have lost 21 games in a row to their northern counterparts. Egad. More bad news. On Friday, the Dinos were outshot 51-18. This statistic was helped in large part by the Dinos loss of discipline and the resulting 11 penalties.
The good news is that the Dinos battled hard both nights and only lost by one goal in both games. The second period in Saturday's loss was perhaps the best period the Dinos have played all year. Jeff Yopyk, Mike Muzechka, Dallas Fallscheer et al. crushed the Bears' forwards with impunity, especially teeny-tiny Ryan Wade--by no coincidence Wade, leading scorer in the CIS, was invisible on Saturday night. The Dinos hit the post three times, on shots from Ian Constable, Fallscheer and on a nice tip by Bracken Kearns. Scott Rideout played phenomenally in both games, making 47 saves for a first-star performance on Friday and allowing only two goals on Saturday--this to the highest scoring squad in the nation.
So, the Dinos will need to play better, but not unattainably better, than they did last weekend if they plan to go anywhere this season--because make no mistake, all tracks to the CIS championship go through Edmonton. Mark your calendars: The teams match up again Feb. 14 and 16, 2002 and the Dinos will be eager to crush little Guba under the steely wheels of their playoff-bound train of destiny.
The Dinos don't play until Jan. 4-5 when they host the University of Saskatchewan.
Also remember that Dinos hockey tickets make great Christmas presents.