Christmas came to the rink early Dec.1-2, but the University of Calgary men's hockey Dinos must have done something to get on Santa's naughty list. The Dinos were robbed by the University of Alberta Golden Bears Friday night in a 2-1 defeat in front of frozen fans at Father David Bauer Arena, and were shovelled aside with the dirty Edmonton snow in a 5-3 loss the following night up north.
Friday night had a slow start for the Dinos in front of their home crowd. The Dinos took a while to get moving, generating only nine shots in the first period. The Bears only took two more shots than the hockeysaurs, but one of them did manage to slip past Dino netminder Scott Talbot.
The game turned out to be a goaltending duel, and Talbot kept his team well in the game all night. The Dinos did manage to tie it up in the third period, thanks to a powerplay goal by Travis Friedley. But with Dino Ryan Annesley in the box for careless interference, the Bears managed to steal the game with a Ben Kilgour one-timer in the last minutes of the period.
The Dinos even had a 6-4 advantage in the dying seconds of the game, with a pulled goaltender and a Bear in the box, but to no avail. The Dinos skated off the ice with a disappointing loss, which was the last their fans will see of them for this calendar year. But it wasn't over for the Dinos yet, and they headed to Edmonton hungry for bear meat.
Too bad those pesky omnivores made things difficult for the hockeysaurs. The Bears grabbed an early lead that didn't hold for more than 40 seconds thanks to Dino Tyrel Lucas' powerplay goal. The Bears still headed into the second period with a 3-1 advantage, as the Dinos again found themselves sitting in the box due to careless and sometimes questionable penalties.
The Dinos did show signs of life with Aaron Richards' goal in the early second period, and the game was tied heading into the final frame of the year. However, the fast and furious offensive pace of the third period ended in the Bears' favour, with Bear Dale Mahovsky scoring the winning goal. Add another insurance goal in the last five minutes of the game, and the Dinos were swept for the second time this season.
Penalties continue to mar the hockeysaurs, as they have all season. The Dinos did manage to reduce their penalties to 14 over the weekend, but the Bears only landed in the box twice in the series finale. The Bears took full advantage of the Dinos' unfortunate relationship with the men in stripes, scoring two goals on six powerplays in Saturday's game. The Dinos need to get these new rules figured out, and soon, or more games will be snatched from their jaws of victory.
The tough losses landed the Dinos six points back of the Bears for first place in the Canada West division. The hockeysaurs head into the break with a 9-7 record and are again chasing Bear behinds, with the Bears leading the way with an impressive 12-4 record. If the Dinos want to reclaim their position at the top of the food chain, look to see them making big changes on the defensive end and step up offensively, generating more high-percentage shots in the new year.