By Stephane Arnault, November 27 2014 —
The University of Calgary Dinos (11–4–0) defeated the University of Alberta Golden Bears (12–2–0) 5–3 Nov. 23 at Father David Bauer Arena, snapping the Bears’ 12-game winning streak.
Dinos forward Elgin Pearce had a magical night, scoring a season-high four goals.
“He got our coaches’ respect tonight,” said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “I thought he played on his toes. He was aggressive, he got in their face, skated hard and made plays.”
The Dinos were heavily outshot by the highest scoring offence in the nation. However, goalie Kris Lazaruk had another stellar performance with 43 saves, several of them in highlight-esque fashion.
“It’s just like in baseball. Your pitcher has got to be your best player and our goalie was our best player tonight,” Pearce said. “He’s got to be one of our best players every night for us to have a chance to win, especially against a team like U of A.”
The Golden Bears offence was on full display in the early goings. They fired 14 shots at Lazaruk, who was unbeatable in the first period.
The Dinos opened the scoring late in the first when Davis Vandane took a slick drop pass from Chris Collins and roofed it top shelf.
The second period belonged to Pearce. His back-to-back goals in a span of two minutes and four seconds gave the Dinos a 3–0 lead. Both of Pearce’s tallies came from the Dinos going hard to the net and sweeping in rebounds.
Not to be outdone, Golden Bears forward Johnny Lazo scored two goals in a minute and 40 seconds to thrust Alberta back into the game.
Pearce would get the last laugh, scoring his third goal of the period to give the Dinos a 4–2 lead after 40 minutes. Chris Collins assisted on the goal and also had three helpers on the night.
The Golden Bears came within one goal of tying it when Kruise Reddick fooled Lazaruk on the doorstep, barring it stick side early in the third.
As the third period carried on, Alberta’s offence peppered Lazaruk with shots from every angle, but they couldn’t find the game-tying goal.
Pearce scored an empty netter in the final minute to cap off his remarkable night. He leads the Dinos with 11 goals this season.
“My teammates really allowed me to play well, so hats off to everyone,” Pearce said. “They all had a great effort.”
The Golden Bears went 1–for–5 on the powerplay and the Dinos went 1–for–2.
In last year’s Canada West conference finals, the Golden Bears swept Calgary in two games, outscoring them 10–2. Besides an exhibition game earlier this year, the Alberta rivals had not played each other since then.
“We had a bitter taste in our mouth and we knew they were going to come out hard,” Pearce said. “We knew they had first place and had to play them hard tonight.”
Thursday’s victory padded Lazaruk’s already impressive stats. He is 6–2–0 this season, with a 1.38 goals against average and a .946 save percentage, along with three shutouts.
“He’s been lights out all year,” Howell said.
The Dinos will look to continue their winning ways against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Nov. 28 at Father David Bauer Arena.