By Carly Benson
Still riding the euphoria of their streak-breaking win against the University of Alberta Golden Bears, the Dinos absolutely destroyed the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Feb. 11-12. With crushing victories of 8-1 and 10-2, the Dinos pulled their record above the .500 level for the first time since Christmas.
Part of the motivation for the annihilation, Brent Gibson admitted, came from the Golden Bears.
“We reminded ourselves of the embarrassing 12-0 loss, we don’t want to forget that bitter taste,” he confessed.
The feeling of having hit rock-bottom was the springboard they needed to defeat the top team in Canada West, and it carried them into the games against the Pronghorns.
“Hockey is such a game that rides on confidence,” Gibson said. “Winning seems to come when you’re on the same page in confidence.”
The Dinos’ confidence burst from the seams when the puck dropped Friday night against the Pronghorns. With total domination from the get-go, the Dinos crushed any hope that Lethbridge had of coming away with a win on home ice. First, Lonny Tetley scored a short-handed goal at the 3:45 mark to get his team rolling. Gibson added to that just over a minute later with a powerplay goal to put the home team down by a pair. By 12:17 of the first, both Gable Gross and Wade Davis had added to that lead.
Lethbridge got one back just seconds after Davis had made it 4-0 on the powerplay, but Davis restored the four-goal lead only a few minutes later with his second of the night. Before the period was out, Matt Jenkins scored to make it 6-1. Donald Choukalos had turned aside seven of just eight shots, while his counterpart at the other end of the ice already had 30 shots sent his way.
“Getting the first goal early really helps,” Gibson explained of the offensive explosion. “It sparks everybody. You jump on that energy and build off it. You can catch teams sleeping.”
The Pronghorns certainly seemed to have been doing that, though they woke up for the remainder of the game. The second period saw far less action, and no scoring until Gibson took a pass from Davis short-handed and fired it past the Lethbridge goaltender. At 7:42 of the third, the Dinos rounded out the scoring, with Ryan Annesley lighting the lamp to bring the final score to 8-1.
Although there was a lack of scoring, the third period was littered with penalties. In total, Calgary received six to Lethbridge’s 11, two of which were game misconducts.
Having a strong game against Lethbridge was a goal the Dinos set during practice according to Drew Campbell.
“We wanted to show the league that we’re here, and that we’re in contention,” he said.
The Dinos certainly capitalized on some opportunities against Lethbridge, of which they had plenty. The shots on goal were 63-17 in favour of Calgary.
Playing at home Saturday night, the Dinos gave the Pronghorns a rude welcome when Alex Lalonde scored just over a minute into the game. A few minutes later, Annesley capitalized on a powerplay to hint that this game might end up like the night before. Captain Bracken Kearns added one short-handed to give the Dinos a commanding leadÂ. However, Jarret Parkin from Lethbridge stole one back for his team before time ran out in the first period, bringing the score to 3-1.
From then on, however, it was all Calgary. The Dinos came out strong in the second period, and had doubled their score before the halfway mark of the game. Jenkins and Gross both scored at even strength and Annesley added a second powerplay goal.
“The powerplay is a very vital aspect, and when it’s working it gives you a great advantage,” Campbell said.
But even without the help from special teams, it looked as though Calgary would have done fine.
They continued to steam-roll through the third with another three goals by Colin McRae, Campbell, and Lalonde. Though Lethbridge scored their second with less than five minutes to go, Gross finished off the evening strong for Calgary with his second on the night. When the buzzer finally went, the score stood at 10-2.
The victory pulls Calgary one game above .500, and brings them to their final adversary before playoffs beginÂ–the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Coincidently, Calgary will most likely play against UBC for the first round of the postseason. The final regular season games Feb. 18-19 give them a chance to analyze their opponent and to send a message. For the Dinos, they intend for that message be clear.
“Playing them right before [playoffs], we want to send them a message that they don’t need to come to Calgary,” Gibson threatened.