Yes, another battle of Alberta--a term used precisely 302,291,204 times a year. It probably contains more action and generates more discussions than a Paris Hilton sex tape.
Okay, maybe not. But the Dinos men's hockey team clinching home-ice advantage for the first round of Canada West playoffs in their last home game of the regular season isn't bad entertainment either. The Dinos completed the mission in front of more than 400 fans against the top-ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears.
On Fri., Feb. 16, home-ice advantage for the CW mountain division semi-finals was on the line for the Dinos while the Bears had already secured a bye to the division finals. The Bears didn't let up at all in the first period. Dinos goaltender Scott Talbot had to be sharp to keep the score 0-1 after Dylan Stanley scored the Bears' first goal.
Later on, the Dinos showed that they wanted this game more than the Bears. Goals from Daniel LaPointe and Alex Lalonde gave the Dinos the lead half way through the game. Even though the Bears tied the game with six seconds left in the second period, Lalonde quickly answered back with his second goal of the night to put the Dinos ahead again.
The Bears pulled their goalie late in the third, hoping for one last push to tie the game. The defense and Talbot came up big for the Dinos and Jevon Desautels added an empty-netter to put the game away for good.
With that victory, the Dinos officially clinched home-ice advantage, but their regular season hadn't quite ended. The teams went at it again Sun., Feb. 18, this time in Edmonton. The Bears hadn't lost at home against teams in the same conference, and kept that streak going against the Dinos.
Two even-strength goals put the Dinos up 2-1 at one point of the game, but it didn't last very long. With 2,200 fans watching, the Bears exploded with four unanswered goals late in the first and throughout the second. The Dinos thought they got one back late in the second period, but closer examination revealed that the puck never crossed the goal line.
The score held up in the third and the Bears went on to win the game 5-2. The Dinos went without Jarret Lukin and Paul Gentile for the weekend, while Wade Davis also missed the second game.
The Dinos finished the season with a 13-13-2 record and 28 points, putting them in second place in the mountain division. Lukin was the coach's choice for the team's MVP and led in points for the regular season with 28. Ryan Annesley was a close second with 26 points. Colin McRae led scoring with 10 goals, while Annesley wasn't behind with nine of his own.
Brett Thurston and Lukin have been selected to Canada West's Second All-Star Team. This is Thurston's second all-star selection, after being named to the All-Freshman team in 2004. Along with Travis Friedley and Andre Blanchette, Lukin was also selected to this year's All-Freshman Team.
The Dinos face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the division semi-final best-of-three series Feb. 24-25. The Dinos were 2-1-1 against the T-Birds in the regular season. Read the Gauntlet or check online for the game report.