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Dinos fall to Flames, but stand their ground

By Sonny Sachdeva, September 25 2014 —

Despite a strong defensive effort, the University of Calgary Dinos came up short against the Calgary Flames rookies on Wednesday, Sept. 17 — losing 3-1 in front of the 1768 fans who filled Father David Bauer arena.

It was a close game from start to finish with each team taking turns carrying the momentum. Despite the final score, the Dinos proved that they can hang with the big boys by controlling much of the game. 

The opening period went scoreless, yet saw the Dinos put their defensive skill on display in their own end. Their strong defense aided in goaltender Kris Lazaruk’s fantastic play, for which he was named first star of the game.

Flames prospect Austin Carroll broke the deadlock near the start of the second period, tucking one past Dinos goaltender Jacob DeSerres — last season’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport goaltender of the year — after he replaced Lazaruk.

One of the game’s bright spots was the excellent play of new Dinos forward Cain Franson, who seemed to be all over the ice. In addition to showing off his defensive skill by picking off Flames passes and blocking shots from the point, it was Franson’s offense that drove the Dinos forward.

After a series of excellent chances in the first period, Franson’s moment came in the second as he cut down the wing with speed before faking a shot and whipping a pass through the slot to Colton Grant, who finished beautifully on the one-timer to tie the game at 1-1. Chris Collins, who was the 2013–2014 Canada West rookie of the year, added the other helper on the play. 

The Dinos offense looked strong against the speedy Flames. Returning forward Elgin Pearce had one of the game’s prettier plays as he nastily toe dragged around a diving Flames defender, driving towards the net and eventually knocking it off its moorings after being tripped up, giving his team the man-advantage.

Though they weren’t able to capitalize on the powerplay, the Dinos put together a thrilling effort, hemming the Flames in their own end with a crisp cycle for much of it, and showcasing their great chemistry by landing some dangerous shots on Flames goaltender Doug Carr.

However, the Dinos didn’t fare so well in the third period. Hulking German forward, David Wolf, slipped a lucky one through DeSerres’ pads to give the Flames the lead early on. Later, defenseman Curtis Gedig put the nail in the Dinos coffin with a nice move around DeSerres near the end of the third, bringing the score to 3-1 for the Flames. 

3-1 would remain the score at the final buzzer.

Though they didn’t leave with the win, the Dinos got much out of the exhibition tilt.

“We demonstrated we can play with big, strong, skilled, players”, said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “We just made some mistakes that cost us that went in the back of the net.”

The Dinos sent a message to the rest of the CIS with their unending tenacity.

“We knew coming in tonight that they would have a pretty good squad over there and we were going need our best effort to give ourselves a chance,” said Dinos forward Cain Franson, who was named the second star of the game. “And I thought for the most part we gave ourselves a good chance.”

As for the benefits of playing the talented Flames rookies, Franson described the game as a measuring stick. 

“I see it as a huge opportunity,” Franson said. “You get to see where you stand and where you match up against other guys in your age group that are in the NHL.”

Veteran Colton Grant, who scored the Dinos only goal of the game, added that the experience will go a long way during their season.

“Just getting ourselves into that pace so we can bring that into our regular season will be huge,” Grant said. “If we can play with this pace throughout our regular season, I think we’re going to jump on teams early and hopefully get some wins off of that.”

The Dinos regular season begins Friday, Sept. 26th when they face the University of Manitoba Bisons at Father David Bauer arena.

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