After spending several weeks ranked tenth in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the University of Calgary men's hockeysaurs now find themselves unranked after being defeated in consecutive games by the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The Huskies took the opening game of the Jan. 26-27 series with a 4-2 victory, and stole a hard-fought game the following night with a 3-2 upset.
Home ice didn't turn out to be much of an advantage for the Dinos, as they had to move to the Max Bell Center for the weekend due to scheduling conflicts at Father David Bauer Arena. The hockeysaurs took the opening period on Friday with Dino Colin McRae putting his team on the board first off a Ryan Annesley pass just two minutes into the game. The Dinos managed to hold the Huskies scoreless for the period, thanks to a stifling defence that kept the Huskies to only three shots.
However, Saskatchewan took the lead in the second period, first tying the score with a Keegan McAvoy powerplay goal. With Husky Curtis Austring in the box for checking from behind, the Dinos looked to take back the lead, but Husky Jason Wagar had other ideas. He scored short-handed to put his team up 2-1 heading into the third, and put the Dinos away with his game-winning goal halfway through the final frame.
Annesley proved to be crucial to the Dinos offence, as he also scored in the first two minutes of the third to tie up the score at two goals apiece. The Dinos' offence was stellar in the first period, as they showered the Huskies' netminder with 13 shots. The hockeysaurs managed to outshoot the Huskies 21-14. Although the Huskies took fewer shots, theirs' managed to get past Dino goalie Scott Talbot. Then again, the Dinos can't really expect to win games when they take only three shots during the third, especially while behind.
"We just didn't put in the effort we needed to win," explained Adam Redmond, third-year kinesiology. "[The Huskies] are one of the top teams, as are we, but we just didn't have the effort and they weren't very good on Friday night either. We shut them down but their shots just went in."
Ready for revenge, the Dinos' skates hit the ice Saturday night with renewed determination to show the Huskies why they swept them back in their first meeting of the season. The Huskies drew blood in the first minute of play, and it was an uphill battle for the Dinos from then on.
The Dinos managed to tie it up twice, but were never able to take the lead. Dino Trevor Galan scored the equalizer to tie the game at 2-2 in the last minutes of the second period, his fourth goal of the season. McRae took an unsuccessful shot at the net, but the puck found Galan's stick, and momentum seemed to shift in the home team's favour.
However, any hopes of a comeback were dashed thanks to Husky Brad Erickson's goal at the five minute mark of the third period. The Dinos kicked their intensity into a gear that had yet to be seen during the series, and the Dinos looked to take control of a game they should have been dominating. But it was too little too late, and the Dinos suffered their third sweep of the season, ironically, to a team they had swept not too long ago.
The hockeysaurs still find themselves in second place in the mountain division, with an 11-9-2 record. Their lead is now down to a single point over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, and two points up on the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. Now they need to step it up and hope for some better bounces against the T-Birds, as there is more at stake than just picking up the win.
"We want home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs," explained Redmond. "That's more than enough motivation for the next series."