The University of Calgary men's hockeysaurs hit the open prairies the weekend of Jan. 19-20 to take on the University of Regina Cougars, in a rink similar to a barn with a frozen puddle inside. Each team walked away with a hard-fought, lop-sided win, with the Cougs taking the opener 4-2 at the Sherwood Twin Arenas, but were doubled up the next night in a 6-3 Dinos triumph.
Friday night's game started out lethargically, with the first goal coming with just three minutes left in the opening period. Sharp-shooting Dino Aaron Richards put up the first goal of the game from a Colin McRae feed on the power play, but the Dinos' lead was short-lived. Cougar Brennan Chapman took advantage of Dino Brett O'Malley sitting in the box serving a holding minor, and tied the game at 1-1.
The goal was set up by Cougar Jason Weitzel, who had the Dinos' number all night. He amassed three points on Friday and four over the course of the series, including the insurance goal in the last minute of the second period. The Dinos headed into the final period down 4-2, knowing that they would have to step up the offence if they wanted to pick up the win. But the real difference in Friday's defeat lay in the goaltending.
The Dinos peppered Cougar netminder Clint Chalmers with 37 shots on the night, while the Cougars put up only 26. However, the difference didn't overcome Dino keeper Scott Talbot's inconsistent play between the pipes. Head coach Scott Atkinson, though always proud of his players' efforts, was disappointed with Talbot's performance.
"[Talbot] just didn't have a good night," explained Atkinson. "He's a great keeper but he just let shots get by him that he shouldn't have, and he knows that he needs to fix that for the next game and series."
Richards tried to give his team some life, scoring the Dinos' only other goal halfway through the third period to cut the Cougars' lead to two. The Dinos didn't come any closer, and skated off with a disappointing defeat, albeit to a very good team.
"[The Cougars] are an excellent team," said Atkinson. "To split with them, in a small rink that we aren't used to, is not so bad--even though we deserved to win both games."
Saturday night was all Dinos domination, with Dino Ryan Annesley opening the scoring in the first minute of the game. O'Malley had a huge night with three points, including the game-winning power play goal in the first minute of the third period. The Dinos scored four goals in the final frame en route to a 6-3 kitty spanking.
Talbot was stellar in net, turning away 25 of 28 shots on the night. He also stepped up his defence, making smart hits and quick transitions to shut down any offence the Cougars tried to generate.
However, the Dinos again found themselves sitting in the box for questionable penalties, including three, yes three, 10-minute game misconducts. Three of the four Cougar goals on Friday night came off of the man advantage, and the Dinos were lucky the Cougars were only able to capitalize on two of the nine
see HOCKEY, page 30