After an up and down weekend against the University of Manitoba Bisons, the Dinos men's hockey team completed the first half of the schedule with a respectable .500 record.
On Friday night the Dinos snuck out with a 3-2 victory, but like a fat kid on a teeter-totter they fell to the Bisons 4-2 in the rematch on Saturday night. Although the team only came out of the series with a split, there were a lot of positives to focus on.
The all-around effort was terrific, as the Dinos outmuscled the opposition and delivered a good number of glass-smearing hits to the road-weary Bisons. However, the penalty-killing unit had a rough night on Saturday, giving up three powerplay goals against, including one while down five on three.
"We ended up with four defencemen in the penalty box at one time, and we were down to only one defenceman," stated Head Coach Scott Atkinson about the penalty-killing lapse. In all fairness, the Dinos penalty-killing unit is ranked first in the league, and has been a strength all season. "I'm not at all worried, I think our penalty killing [unit] has been doing a good job over the course of the season."
Ken McKay was the hero on Friday night sliding home the game winner through a five-hole on Bison's netminder Jomar Cruz that he could've driven a truck through. Solid goaltending from Tyler Nilsson, especially late in the third period, gave Calgay a chance to win. Saturday's outcome was different however, mainly because the Dinos special teams couldn't catch any breaks.
"I thought we really took it to them," said a frustrated Atkinson. "We hit four goal posts and missed three flat out breakaways."
Regardless of Saturday's disappointing result, the team is trying their best to focus on the positives.
"When we played five-on-five hockey we can absolutely dominate that team," continued Atkinson with confidence.
With only one more weekend of regular season action until the jolly fat man gives the team a rest for the holidays, the Dinos will try to play the role of the Grinch. The Lethbridge Pronghorns shouldn't expect any gifts from their provincial rivals this weekend, as they will be the team's opposition in a home-and-home series. Lethbridge will play host on Friday night, as the teams will bus it back to Calgary the following night for the rematch.