By Еvan Osentоn
By now you’ve seen the dejected faces all over campus and heard the whispers in the halls–the University of Calgary women’s hockey team lost to the University of Alberta Pandas in the Canada West playoffs and hence, will not be going to nationals.
Thus ends the inaugural full season for the Dinos–a year that saw them post a stellar 9-3 record, feature a conference all-star in defenceman Carol Scheibel, showcase one of the league’s premier offensive talents in Colleen Sostorics, but fail to get the job done when it came to their most important games.
Their loss last Saturday in Regina to the aforementioned Pandas was the Dinos’ fourth in five games against their northern rivals this year.
"I don’t think they’re a better team than us," insisted Scheibel. "We just ran out of time. It was a pretty close game. They were up 1-0 and then we went ahead 2-1. We were battling and battling. They got a couple of late goals. If we had just had a little more time…"
Saturday’s tilt saw the Dinos drop a heartbreaking one-goal game, allowing the winning Panda marker with only 2:26 left in the game. Goalie Lorenda Beuker played well again for the Dinos, making 25 saves for only her third loss of the year.
Veteran forward Sue Lippitt also felt the Dinos should have won.
"I thought we played one of our better games against the U of A," she said. "We had 31 shots on net, we skated with them all night, they just got the breaks. We were right there with them, the game could have gone either way."
Lost in the heartache surrounding the Dino’s loss on Saturday is the fact that they played extremely well against the University of Regina Cougars on Friday night with Lippitt scoring just the Dinos’ second hat trick of the year.
"I kind of happened to be in the right place in the right time. A lot of people did a lot of work and I just put the finishing touches on them," she said. "But it was a tough game — we really had to earn that win. I think our best game was against the U of R, but we still played really well against the U of A too."
Missing from the Dinos lineup from both games were forwards Kelly Bechard and Colleen Sostorics, as well as coach Julie Healy, who were in Finland with the under-22 national team.
Scheibel downplayed their absence.
"We definitely missed their influence on the ice and in the dressing room," said Scheibel, "but we’ve had a small roster all year, so it wasn’t really anything new."
Both Scheibel and Lippitt are disappointed, but are dwelling on the positives and looking forward to next year.
"Overall it was a good season," said Scheibel. "We had some players at the beginning of the year who were decent, but improved a lot and learned so much over the course of the season. It really showed this weekend when everyone came out and played really well. We would have liked to win, but it was still a good season. We had a lot of fun which is the most important thing."
"This season was a really great year for Dino’s hockey," agreed Lippitt. "We may not have won Canada West, but we did accomplish most of the goals we set out to do and we really came together as a team. It just wasn’t our turn, I guess. That’s how she goes."