Skating circles around the ‘Horns

By Ian Waldbauer

Seeing that the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns couldn’t play nice Feb. 6-7, the hockeysaurs made them sorry they even played at all.

The Dinos rolled into the barn in Lethbridge on Friday night and, much to the disappointment of the antelope loving yokels in attendance, the Dinos laid tracks back to Calgary with a 4-2 win in tow.

When Saturday night rolled around, they reminded the ‘Horns that close really only counts in horseshoes as they filled their provincial rivals in with a 7-2 thumping. Not only did the Dinos win on the scoreboard, they quite possibly won every battle for loose pucks, using their size and speed the whole game, making the ‘Horns defenders look like nothing more then pawns in a chess match.

Veteran defenceman Jeff Yopyk, who tallied only his second goal of the season Saturday, didn’t believe the chippiness of either game was due to possible playoff rivals trying to send each other a message.

"We’ve knocked them out of the playoffs many times in the last five years," commented Yopyk. "They don’t like us and we don’t like them, that’s just how hockey is sometimes."

Contrary to McDonald’s annoying jingle, the ‘Horns definitely weren’t lovin’ it as they were served more McRae than they could stomach. First-year Dino Colin McRae ordered up a goal in each period of Saturday’s home victory to record his first career hat-trick. Richard Mueller and Sean Robertson each recorded three points on Saturday, which did nothing to overshadow the recent red hot play of Adam Loncan. Loncan notched two goals and an assist–including the game winner–in Friday’s greasy road-win, before narrowly escaping serious injury Saturday on a questionable kneeing incident.

For the first time in the 2004 calendar year, goaltender Aaron Baker started in back-to-back games and played solid while recording both victories.

Whatever message was sent after last week’s collapse at the hands of the University of Manitoba Bisons seemed to have hit home with the veteran laden Dinos squad.

"Coming down to crunch time we have to start playing to our ability and not worry about individual games," stated Yopyk. "Second overall in the conference will be very important in the playoffs, and we can still catch Saskatchewan."

The same can’t be said about the University of Alberta Golden Bears, who have first place locked up in the Mountain Division. The Dinos are currently tied with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in points for the second overall seed in Canada West, which means if the playoffs were to start today, the flatland crotch-sniffers would have home ice advantage in a playoff meeting due to a better head-to-head record. The only way for the Dinos to change that is finishing ahead of the Huskies in points.

Somewhat unfortunate is that two of their four remaining games happen to be against the pesky Golden Bears, a team they haven’t beaten in 33 consecutive tries.

It’s no secret that in order for this team to advance deep into the playoffs and dare I say to a national tournament berth, the sickly talented Bears will be standing in their path. The confidence that would come from a single win against the Bears could be the extra push the Dinos need to propel them from their yearly state of above average mediocrity. 


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