Men’s Hockey: Dismal defence divides Dinos’ dividends

By Alyzee Sibtain

The University of Calgary men’s Dinos played two very different games with two very different results their opening weekend against the University of Manitoba Bison, Oct. 6-7. They split the series with a 7-5 Dinos victory on Friday night, followed by a hard-fought 2-1 defeat the following night.

Friday’s game was a flurry of power-play goals, thanks to the whistle-happy referees, who handed out 20 penalties throughout the game. The Dinos capitalized on the ever-occupied penalty box, scoring five goals with the man-advantage, while the Bison scored on only two of nine power plays.

Dinos’ rookie Aaron Richards took it hard to the Bison all night, netting four goals, three of which came within four minutes of each other.

“[It felt] pretty good,” described Richards, a first-year communications major. “It’s the first time I’ve scored four goals since Bantam.”

Still, head coach Scott Atkinson was not at all pleased with his players’ performance, especially their sloppy play. There was no flow to the Dinos’ defence, and they often found themselves trying to catch up with the speedy Bison offence as they fought to get back into good defensive position.

“We didn’t play well,” said Atkinson. “[It was] a lousy game. We were lazy and should have won 7-1.”

The Dinos looked to step up their defence in Saturday’s game, but the Bison unfortunately had the same game plan. Despite holding the Bison scoreless until the third period–when Bison David McDonald redirected a point shot for the game’s first goal–the Dinos could not overcome the Bison’s stifling defence.

The Dinos were able to respond 25 seconds later with their only goal. Thanks to Tyrel Lucas’ unassisted shot, the Bison’s net minder mishandled it into his own net.

The Bison shut down the Dinos for the rest of the third period. The Dinos failed to capitalize on any of their 10 power plays throughout the game–ultimately costing them the win. Although the Dinos’ defence was much more effective in Saturday’s contest, it still remains the team’s main focus. Allowing five goals in one night is not going to help the Dinos pad the win column.

“If we play top teams like this, they will be able to jump all over us,” explained Adam Redmond, a third-year kinesiology major.

Next up for the Dinos is a road series in Edmonton, where they hope Fri., Oct. 13 won’t be unlucky for their weekend series against their nemesis, the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

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