Christmas will be more jolly for the Dinos men's hockey team this year, as the team closed out the first half of the season in third place. Beating the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds last Friday 3-1, and then tying 4-4 on Saturday, the weekend was reasonably successful. Both Lethbridge and Manitoba gave the Dinos an early Christmas present by losing all of their weekend games. This allowed the Dinos to take the sole third position in the conference behind the universities of Saskatchewan and Alberta, who are tied for first
Friday night's game saw Calgary dominate the T-Birds, as they outshot the dreary rain-soaked ubc boys 38-23. Goalie Scott Rideout played an outstanding game, giving the team a huge save in the third period.
"We played very well on Friday, it was probably our best game so far this year," commented head coach Tim Bothwell. "It's pretty gratifying to see."
The team had trouble starting games off right earlier in the season, but this didn't occur either night on the weekend. The T-Birds opened the scoring in the first on Saturday, but Calgary responded with three of their own, tying it up in the first, and taking the lead in the second period.
Don Cherry, that great opinionated ex-bruiser, often says that the worst lead to have is a two-goal lead, and this became very apparent for the Dinos. The team, feeling in control again, turned off the jets, and allowed ubc to come back.
"The difference on Saturday was that they worked harder," said Bothwell. "We got up 3-1, and I think we got a little complacent."
The T-Birds stormed back with two goals, tying the game late in the second. The third saw the teams exchange goals. Calgary took the lead with a goal by Colin Embley at 1:08, but ubc again caught up at 13:28. Overtime solved nothing, and the game ended in a tie.
"We played a solid game, we worked hard at times," said Bothwell. "We were present physically, we just need to be more consistent."
Although they should have won the game on Saturday, a tie after a solid win is a decent way to end before Christmas.
"On balance, it was a good weekend, we got three out of four points," said Bothwell. "We're in third place. That's a pretty good place for us right now."
The Dinos will be making the long trip to Brandon Jan. 7 and 8. A sound beating should open up the second half of the season for the Bobcats, who are five points behind the Dinos. UBC has been relegated to second last after this weekend, only above the lowly Regina Cougars.