Could the streak end? No, but close

The New Year did not start out as the Dinos had hoped. After destroying the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 5-2 and 9-1 just before the Christmas break, the Dinos had hoped the momentum would carry through to 2005. But faced with their arch rival, the University of Alberta Golden Bears, extending their winning streak would be quite a challenge. After all, the Dinos have not beaten the Bears since Feb. 5, 1999.


The Bears opened the scoring early, a mere 3:42 into the first period. This put the Dinos into a hole that they could not climb out of. Only a few minutes later, the Bears added to their lead with a powerplay goal while Calgary’s Travis George was off for cross-checking. Though the shots on goal remained fairly even in the first period, Calgary with eight and Alberta with nine, the Bears had a 2-0 lead heading into the middle frame.


It did not take long for them to add to that. Only 48 seconds after stepping onto the ice, the Bears scored yet again. Justin Wallin of Alberta continued the avalanche of goals four minutes later, bringing the score to 4-0 in favour of the visitors. If the Dinos were going to make a comeback, this was the time to do it.


They had an excellent opportunity towards the end of the second, with Alberta’s Jonathan Hobson off for roughing, kept company by Wade Burt who had been called for hooking. This gave the Dinos a two-man advantage for just over a minute and the perfect chance to cut into Alberta’s commanding lead. However, the Dinos managed just one shot during their 5-on-3 powerplay. Before the end of the period, Alberta added insult to injury by scoring in the final minute to give themselves a cushioned five-goal lead.


Scott Talbot started the third period in net for Calgary, replacing starting goalie Donald Choukalos who let in five of 15 shots. This final frame looked better for Calgary, as Lonny Tetley finally wrecked Alberta goalie Dustin Schwartz’s shut out bid just over five minutes into the period. Dino captain Bracken Kearns and George both assisted on the goal, but it was too little too late. By the time the buzzer went, the Bears had added another tally to bring the final score to 6-1.


Saturday night brought a clean start for the Dinos and a chance to erase the memories of the night before. Talbot, a rookie, was given the start against the first-ranked team in the Canada West division.


Though not identical to the night before, Saturday started pretty similarly with the Bears scoring first on the powerplay a little less than halfway into the period. The Dinos had a scare towards the end of the period when Adam Loncan joined Drew Campbell in the penalty box to give the Bears a two-man advantage for twenty seconds. But the Dinos battled hard to keep the Bears at one when the period ended.


Unfortunately, the middle frame did not start well at all. Eleven minutes elapsed before Calgary got their first shot on goal, and in the meantime, the Bears had added to their lead. Alberta’s Perry Johnson capitalized on a powerplay to bring the score to 3-0, and things began to look like they would spiral out of control just like the night before.


However, the Dinos dug in their heels and fought back valiantly. The third period became a fresh start for them, and Alex Lalonde scored 42 seconds in to give his team a shot at a comeback. Less than a minute later, Campbell added to this with another even strength goal, assisted by Ryan Annesley and Jordan Walker.


For ten minutes the teams battled hard as Calgary fought to complete the comeback and Alberta struggled to hold on to a 17th victory in a row. Finally, Dino Wes Reid forced a turnover and capitalized on his opportunity to bring the score to 3-3.


Though the teams traded chances for the remainder of the game and throughout overtime, excellent goaltending on both sides kept the game tied. This snapped Alberta’s winning streak and gave the Dinos a bright point in their weekend performance.


Talbot was fantastic, stopping 35 of 38 shots, including many timely saves, to keep his team in the game and give them a chance to comeback.


Calgary heads to the University of Regina next weekend to take on the Cougars, who have 12 points on the season and sit at the bottom of their division. Two victories would pull the Dinos above the .500 mark again, putting them on track to make a drive to the playoffs.

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