By Carly Benson
The Dinos faced off against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Jan. 28-29, hoping to pull their record above the .500 level. Heading into the double-header, the Dinos had a 7-8-5 record with eight games left. Coming off a hard-fought victory against the University of Manitoba Bisons their last game, the Dinos hoped to keep the momentum against the Huskies.
The Huskies got off to a quick start, striking first just six minutes into the first frame. The teams traded powerplays, with each side having two opportunities with the man advantage, but no damage was done there. The Huskies did outshoot Calgary 11-4, though the score remained 1-0 in favour of the visitors as the second period began.
Once again, the teams exchanged penalties with no clear advantage either way. But the Huskies did manage to sneak another one past Dinos goalie Donald Choukalos in order to extend their lead. Though Calgary managed to more than double their shots on goal with nine, they could not solve the Huskie goaltender, and opened the third period with a two goal deficit.
Just over a minute into the final frame, Brent Gibson cut the Huskies’ lead in half. The Dinos battled hard for the equalizer, but Wade Davis got called for roughing at the 4:39 mark, leaving the Dinos short-handed. This time, the Huskies capitalized and restored the two-goal lead. Once again, Calgary battled back and pulled within one when Gable Gross took a pass from captain Bracken Kearns and fired past the Huskie goalie. Less than 30 seconds later, Scott Schoneck of Saskatchewan scored to make it 4-2, giving his team all the insurance they would need, as the last ten minutes of the period saw no scoring.
Saturday night, the Dinos looked to upset the number two ranked team in the Canada West division to get themselves back on a winning streak. This time, Calgary opened the scoring when Ryley Layden made the most of his team’s first powerplay of the game. The Huskies responded, on their own man advantage just over two minutes later, tying the game at one after a period of play.
Again the Dinos came out strong to start the second period. With Saskatchewan’s Bryce Thoma called for tripping, Calgary opened the middle frame with their second man-advantage of the evening. Less than 30 seconds after the puck had dropped, Wade Davis scored to put the Dinos ahead by one. Calgary then killed off two powerplays back to back in order to maintain their lead, but near the middle of the period Saskatchewan evened it up at two goals apiece.
The Dinos dug in and managed two more goals in little more than three minutes, with Craig Strain and Colin McRae picking up the tallies. Thanks to the heroics of goaltender Scott Talbot, the Dinos maintained their commanding lead heading into the third, despite being outshot 23-7 in the middle period alone.
Once again Saskatchewan narrowed the gap when Trent Adamus scored 2:39 minutes in. Although the Huskies peppered Talbot with 11 more shots in the final period, for a total of 43 on the night, he stood tall and kept the game at 4-3. With two minutes to go before the buzzer, Colin McRae added his second of the evening to bring the final score to 5-3.
McRae had two goals and an assist, while Layden had a goal and two helpers as the Dinos picked up two points for their efforts. The victory against the second-place Huskies will be an excellent confidence booster as the Dinos prepare to take on the University of Alberta Golden Bears Feb. 4-5 in the final installment of the Battle of Alberta, at least for the regular season.
To make the victory even sweeter, Dinos goaltender Scott Talbot was named the Canada West Hockey Player of the Week. His amazing contribution to Calgary’s 5-3 victory against the Huskies, stopping 40 of 43 shots, earned him the honours. Talbot is currently ranked fifth in the Canada West division with a 4-4-3 record and a 2.64 goals-against-average. Congratulations!