By Еvan Osentоn
The Dinos hockey team humiliated the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns last weekend. In two fast-paced, physical and offensive contests, the Dinos only allowed one goal, shutting out the hapless ‘Horns in game one and blasting six goals by Lethbridge goalie Tanya Allen in game two.
Oh yeah–this is the women’s team, by the way.
Short of a different home venue and the occasional ponytail hanging out from under a helmet, the women hockeysaurs could easily be mistaken for the men’s side this year; both play a full season (a first for the women), both teams feature potential conference all-stars, and both teams like to take lots and lots of penalties.
There are only a few different rules in the women’s game, as head coach Julie Healy explained.
"Women’s hockey has no bodychecking, but lots of contact," she said, adding that full face visors are also mandatory. "[Other than that], there’s no difference."
For the past two seasons, the women have played the full season in a round robin tournament.
"[We] became a Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union sport three years ago," explained Healy. "It started in tournament format and this year they felt our programs warranted a season."
On Friday, the teams clashed in the "city" to the south. Both Calgary and Lethbridge were playing three 20-minute periods for the first time (tournament games had two 15-minute periods and one 20-minute) and were uncharacteristically fatigued. Add to this fact that Calgary was missing three regulars and it all adds up to a close-checking, low-scoring affair.
"We played pretty well in the first," said Healy. "We outshot them 18-2, and they’re not a bad team."
Healy said the Dinos slowed down in the second and third periods, allowing the ‘Horns back into the game. Their goaltending was exceptional, but she added that she expects a consistent effort.
"In order to be successful, we have to compete day in and day out."
Nevertheless, the Dinos returned from the sticks with an impressive 1-0 shutout.
On Saturday, the Dinos and ‘Horns met again in Calgary to resume the battle. This time, Lethbridge needn’t have shown up.
Veteran (and penalty-prone) forward Colleen Sostorics netted a natural hat-trick in the first 14 minutes of the game and the rout was on. The Dinos showed veteran poise in killing penalties in the first; Sostoric’s second goal was the first of three Dino short-handed markers on the game. With the shots-on-goal reading 20-3 after the first period, Lethbridge was lucky to leave the period down by only three. The second period featured much the same as the first, with flashy forward Kelly Bechard stealing the spotlight as she scored the first of her three goals on a spectacular end to end rush.
Her second goal of the game came six minutes later and she completed the hat-trick in the third after blowing past the Pronghorn defence and easily deking their keeper.
Lethbridge’s only goal in the 6-1 loss came with only 56 seconds left much to the delight of a mostly pro-Lethbridge crowd at the Olympic Oval.
Healy is optimistic about the women’s team this year.
"Definitely, goaltending is key for us," said Healy, adding that Mariann MacDougall, Carol Scheibel and Kathy Devereaux turned in solid performances and will be counted on to do so all year.
Sostorics and Bechard showed they can put the puck in the net and the defence limited Lethbridge to only a smattering of shots on goal all weekend. Robyn Rittmaster showed great form in goal only allowing one goal all weekend and the Dino’s special teams looked sharp.
The next game is Fri. Oct. 29 against Alberta. Game time is 7:45 p.m. at the Olympic Oval.