By Fabian Mayer
The University of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team remain atop of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings this week after sweeping their weekend series with the University of Manitoba Bisons. Through 20 games, an overtime loss is the only blemish on what has been the best season in recent memory for the Dinos.
Goaltending has been key to Calgary’s impressive campaign. The team boasts the lowest goals against average in the Canada West conference allowing just 1.75 goals per game. Backstopping the squad to this stingy number are goalies Jacob DeSerres and Kris Lazuruk.
The two netminders have been splitting time in goal, an arrangement that seems to be working as both are having remarkable years. DeSerres leads the league in nearly every statistical category with Lazuruk not far behind. Fourth-year Dino Lazuruk attributes his success to a new mental approach.
“Coming into the game confident, not worrying about that first shot or the second shot and just focusing on the game, taking each period by each minute has really helped me out,” said Lazuruk.
Typically Lazuruk will start on the Friday half of the team’s weekend series with DeSerres taking over between the pipes on Saturdays. This setup has served the Dinos well and both goalies insist that there is nothing more than a little friendly competition between them.
“In past years it’s all competition. You want to fight for that number one spot, but with this year Jacob and myself have become really close friends,” said Lazuruk. “You always want to battle for that net every night but it’s a healthy competition. We’re great friends on and off the ice so it’s nice to see each other succeed.”
“It’s smooth sailing between the two of us,” echoed DeSerres. “We just want the other one to do well, our team to win and sweep every weekend, so I think it’s a good system for us.”
Success is nothing new to DeSerres. The Calgary native started his career with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League and was even drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round of the National Hockey League entry draft. After losing the starting job in Seattle, DeSerres led the Brandon Wheat Kings and the St. John Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup final in consecutive years, winning the Canadian Hockey League championship with St. John. A CIS championship would add to an already impressive resume.
“It would be awesome. The best accomplishment you can have, the best award you can have is a championship,” said DeSerres. “Obviously it would be right up there at the top for me and that’s our main goal this year.”
The Dinos have clinched a playoff spot and their season will come down to a handful of three-game playoff series. The goaltending situation for the post-season is still unclear. However, given the stellar seasons both goalies are having the Dinos can be confident no matter who is in net.
“I’m not too sure what our coach Mark Howell is going to go with, if he wants to go with one guy or if we’re going to keep rotating the way it is because it has been working,” said Lazuruk. “If it’s myself in the net I know Jacob will back me up 110 per cent and be so supportive. If it’s the other way I’ll back Jacob up 110 per cent. It all comes down to having the team win.”