The University of Calgary women's hockey team gained a much-needed confidence boost last weekend. On the back of superb goaltending by Katie Urness, the Dinos defeated the University of Regina Cougars 3-2 and 3-0 in back-to-back games. Urness earned her first Canadian Interuniversity Sport shutout. The wins end the Dinos 13-game losing streak, which stretched back to the season opener against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
"It gives us a lot of confidence and takes a huge weight off our shoulders," says head coach Danielle Goyette. "No matter how hard you work, if you don't get results it brings you down. It's been a long time since we won a game and it gave us a lot of confidence. We have to give credit to Katie [Urness]."
The team has been plagued with injuries this season, one of the many reasons for the string of losses. With a full team against Regina, the Dinos rose to the challenge.
"It was the first time we had a full team," says Goyette. "As a team, we had four lines. When you play with two or three lines you can't be aggressive."
The Dinos changed their offensive strategy, focusing on getting the puck to the net instead of waiting for a perfect opportunity. Goyette believes the trouble scoring was a huge reason for the losses and something had to be done.
"At practice it's about shooting. When you have players who are less talented offensively you have to shoot more. Players can be more selfish and take shots. [The Regina games] were the first time we outshot the opponents."
The Dinos travel to Winnipeg next weekend to take on the University of Manitoba Bisons where they hope the boost in confidence will extend their winning streak to four. The Bisons sit in second spot in the Canada West standings while the Dinos are last, two points behind Lethbridge and nine points out of playoff contention. The Dinos last played the Bisons on the large ice at the Olympic Oval, losing back-to-back games in Calgary. Goyette hopes the small ice out east and their Canada West experience will boost the Dinos chances.
"The players were perhaps intimidated at the beginning of the season," she says. "I didn't know if they believed they could win. Now after Christmas, even at practice we are better and have more confidence."