It was a long season and the team came a long way, but the sounds of sticks, skates and slapshots won't be heard in the early hours of the Olympic Oval anytime soon: the University of Calgary women's hockey team won't be playing any more hockey games this spring.
The Dinos battled their inner-city rival Mount Royal College Cougars in the opening round of the Alberta College Athletic Conference playoffs Feb. 16-18, playing valiantly and giving their opponents a run for their money. Unfortunately, the Dinos didn't muster up enough to win the two out of three games needed to advance.
The Dinos' series defeat was a hard one to swallow as the team held victory in their grasp and let it slide between their claws, winning the first game of the series at Centennial Arenas in a remarkable fashion, but lacking that final drive needed to finish off their adversaries. The Cougars fought back to win the next two games and the series.
"It was heartbreaking," said an emotional captain Beth Nerland after game three. "We deserved more. We came so far and I'm so proud of my team, we didn't quit in every game."
The series started off perfectly for the Dinos Fri., Feb. 16. The playoff atmosphere was electric as both teams showed no signs of understanding the word 'tentative,' skating their hardest and chasing after every puck. It was clear from the initial drop of the puck that the game would be an offensive affair, as both teams took every chance presented to them to risk a scoring chance. The Dinos controlled the play for the first two frames, out-shooting their opposers 21-16, but thanks to the play of Cougar netminder Jennelle Stam, her team was able to stay alive and convert on chances of their own. MRC led 2-1 going into what will surely go down as not just an amazing period of hockey, but one that will be remembered by all those who played in or witnessed it.
The Dinos had come too far and played with too much heart to let the game simply slip away. It's a mystery what was said to the team during the intermission, but it was obvious the Dinos came out like a team possessed. They wasted no time in finding even ground again when forward Danielle Boyce made a great individual effort to find open ice and fire home a perfect wrister, tying the game early. The Cougars attempted to hold off the Dinos' momentum by scoring a goal mere minutes later, but it wasn't enough, as Dino defender Ali Webb answered that with a goal of her own 10 seconds afterwards, her second out of four points on the night, tying the game yet again.
"It was a fun game to play in," commented Webb. "They're a good team and they made us compete harder."
The three goals in roughly three