Imagine you're a hunter and you haven't had much luck lately. Your confidence wavers as other hunters boast of their gory accomplishments. One day, you spot a bobcat through your binoculars. Ooh, a bobcat! Sure would look good stuffed and mounted in your den, wouldn't it? Killing this magnificent beast sure would make you feel mighty again, wouldn't it? But, wait. What if that bobcat was old, lame, blind and missing large patches of fur and all its teeth? What if it was staggering uselessly, looking for a tree under which to die? Would it still be right to kill it? Would its death still boost your confidence?
Such was the dilemna facing the University of Calgary men's hockey team last weekend. The 12--9--1 Dinos, hungering for a playoff spot, hosted the 3--16--3 University of Brandon Bobcats, a decrepit squad far removed from playoff contention. That the Dinos needed these two wins very badly goes without saying. But with an 8--0 win Friday night and a 6--3 victory Saturday afternoon, the Dinos laid waste to Brandon with a savagery that would have befitted a far mightier opponent. The results were almost embarrassing and they beg the question: Are these Dinos for real?
The good news is 10 separate Dinos scored goals over the two-game series and nearly every Dino got at least one point. While Ronnie Grimard and Trevor Segstro led the charge with three goals each, the Dinos played as well as a unit as they have all season. While the Dinos forechecking was outstanding, Calgary's defence must be especially credited for stepping it up a notch after a couple of disappointing efforts in January. Scott Rideout stopped 20 shots in game one-including a penalty shot-to preserve his first shutout of the year, while fellow keeper Aaron Baker stopped 25 of 28 shots on Saturday for his first win of the year. While both teams could have been more disciplined, the Dinos took advantage of their powerplay opportunities, scoring seven goals on the man advantage over the weekend. With these two lopsided victories, the Dinos appear to have found the ferocious form they displayed prior to Christmas.
But have they? What if our hockeysaurs only played well because of the miserable nature of their opponent? Will the Dinos play as confidently next week, or must every opponent be as woeful as the Bobcats? With four games remaining in the Canada West regular season schedule, the University of Alberta Golden Bears hold a nine-point edge over the Dinos and have clinched a first-round playoff bye. Calgary is left to battle it out for home ice advantage in the first round, a feat they can achieve this weekend if they manage at least a tie against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Can the Dinos stomach juicy Pronghorn steaks, or are they only capable of digesting lukewarm, flavourless Bobcat stew? Find out if the Dinos are for real this Sat., Feb. 9 at Father David Bauer. Game time is 7 p.m.