After splitting a pair of games versus the SAIT Trojans last weekend, the University of Calgary Dinos women's hockey team faced another inner-city rival, the Mount Royal College Cougars at the Olympic Oval Fri., Jan. 26. The Dinos played a strong game all night only to give up the game-winning goal with 3:29 left in the third period, deciding their fate in another heartbreaking loss, 3-2.
"This was a game we should have won," said Dinos assistant coach Lonnie Vuckovic. "It was right there for the taking."
The more experienced Cougars came out strong but were outplayed for the majority of the period, often relying on goaltender Amanda Squire.
Squire stepped up frequently, including making a five-hole breakaway stop on Dino forward Danielle Boyce.
Boyce soon got her revenge on Squire. Boyce received a beautiful pass from Chelsey Morrill on a hard-earned two-on-one shorthanded chance early in the second. Boyce put the puck home perfectly, giving her team a 1-0 lead. The advantage was short-lived as the Cougars tied the game up not long after. A wrap-around slid past Dinos goalie Katie Urness after some intense four-on-four hockey to make the score 1-1.
The Cougars kept the momentum in their hands going into the third, and took their first lead of the game early on, capitalizing on a two-on-one chance in front of the net.
A comeback seemed in the cards past the midway point of the third, when Dinos defender Kate Nesbitt fired a shot from the point that ricocheted off a series of bodies into the net. Though an ugly goal, it was much needed, tying the game at 2-2 with time running out. The goal was assisted by Morrill and Boyce, their second points of the night.
The Dinos have been struggling through discipline issues all season long and their penalty-taking habits finally became a deciding factor, as the team was called for a minor penalty with less than five minutes to go. The Cougars didn't need the full two minutes, scoring on a shot from the high slot that remarkably threaded a needle through the bodies in front of the net, including a screened and visionless Urness. Any chances of a last-ditch comeback by the Dinos were crushed not long after when they were called for yet another minor penalty, their ninth on the evening.
DejÃ vu was on the menu Friday--it was the second game in a row for the Cougars in which they scored the winner over the Dinos with mere minutes remaining. Heartbreaking losses have been the sour diet of the Dinos all season long.
"With the youngest team in the league, we are still inconsistent in our play," added Vuckovic. "We need to develop a killer instinct [and] expect to win every game."