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Dinos book ticket to Canada West finals

Game One and Two

By Sonny Sachdeva, March 5 2015 —

After losing three of four regular season contests to their Crowchild Classic rivals, the Dinos men’s hockey team opened their post-season by defeating the Mount Royal University Cougars  3–2 on Feb. 27.

Over 800 fans packed the Father David Bauer Arena to watch game one of the Canada West semifinal series.

The Cougars entered the game fresh off a quarterfinal victory against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies last week. The Dinos’ last game came on Jan. 30 due to their first-round bye. The long rest showed in the game’s early goings.

“I thought we got better as the game went on,” said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “You could tell Mount Royal had played playoff hockey. They were hungry, quick. They were on us.”

Cougars forward Cody Cartier scored the first goal of the night 2:30 into the first period, sidestepping the Dinos defence to wire one past goalie Kris Lazaruk from the slot.

The Dinos responded near the end of the period. Forward Adam Kambeitz fired a shot on net that was turned aside by Cougars netminder Cam Lanigan. Kambeitz stayed with the play and followed his own rebound, tucking it past Lanigan to tie the game at 1–1.

The second frame saw one more goal apiece from each team, and overtime was needed to break the 2–2 draw.

Four minutes into the period, the Dinos put the puck on net, but Lanigan sprawled out to stop it with his pad. As the puck sat on the goal-line, the Dinos rushed the net, pushing Lanigan’s pad, and the puck, over the line.

The goal was disallowed and overtime continued.

Eight minutes later, the Dinos continued their assault on Lanigan. Forward Chris Collins carried the puck end-to-end through multiple MRU defenders before crashing into the net and taking Lanigan with him.

Lanigan remained down on the ice for several minutes before play resumed. Lanigan tried to play through the injury, but had to leave, and the Cougars were forced to replace him with backup netminder Dalyn Flette.

Flette managed to keep the score even for the remaining five minutes of the first overtime. But just as the second overtime commenced, Dinos forward Dylan Walchuk beat the cold Flette from two feet out to end the game.

“I saw the puck go to the point, so I went to the front of the net,” Walchuk said. “Dzielski had a good shot and the rebound came out [and] I just slid it into the empty net.”

The Dinos lost game two the following night by a score of 5–2. The Cougars scored four goals in the third period to force a decisive game three.

David Moll

David Moll

Game Three

By Sonny Sachdeva, March 5 2015 —

The Dinos men’s hockey team put forth a dominant effort against the Mount Royal University Cougars on Mar. 1, winning the deciding game of the series 6–3 to book a ticket to the Canada West finals.

In front of 892 fans at the Father David Bauer Arena, the Dinos successfully avenged their late collapse from game two, outshooting the Cougars 37–28 to finish the series.

“Tonight was our best effort,” said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “We tweaked our game plan a bit, and the guys bought in and executed really well.”

Special-teams were key in the victory. The Dinos tallied three power-play goals and came up with some crucial penalty kills to put the Cougars to bed.

Team captain Kevin King opened the scoring with the Dinos’ first power-play goal at 13:29 in the first period, crashing the crease to poke one by Cougars netminder Dalyn Flette. Mount Royal answered three minutes later with a goal of their own from defenceman Emerson Hrynyk.

This back-and-forth continued through the second period as each team posted power-play goals, bringing the score to 2–2 at the halfway mark. The goals came from Dinos forward Walker Wintoneak and Cougars forward Matthew Brown.

With just over three minutes remaining in the second period, however, the Dinos started to pull away.

Once again on the power play, Dinos forward Dylan Walchuk took the puck off the faceoff and swept it to defenceman Davis Vandane on the point. Vandane blasted a shot into the Cougars’ net, giving the Dinos their third power play marker of the night, and a 3–2 lead heading into the final period.

“Special-teams can win or lose a series,” said King. “Tonight it won us the series. The penalty killers did a great job. Hats off to them.” 

The Dinos came out strong in the third period, determined not to repeat their late collapse from game two.

Forwards Elgin Pearce and Chris Collins combined for two goals in the latter half of the third to extend the Dinos’ lead to 5–3.

Collins’ tally came first when a quick shot from the left hash mark found the top of the cage. Six minutes later, Collins broke in on a two-on-one with Pearce, sliding a pass underneath a diving Cougars defender to set up a one-timer goal from Pearce.

A late goal from Brown nearly spurred a comeback for the Cougars. Dinos goaltender Kris Lazaruk stood tall for the rest of the period to ensure his team came out with the victory.

Forward Cain Franson poured salt on the Cougars’ wounds with an empty-net goal in the final minute of the game.

Calgary will now advance to their fourth conference final in five years.

The victory sets up a Canada West final between the Dinos and the University of Alberta Golden Bears — the club that eliminated Calgary from the playoffs last season.

Both teams have already earned a chance to compete for the national championship at the University Cup on March 12–15. But as coach Howell explained, his team isn’t looking past U of A just yet.

“Every time I step on the ice for practice, I look up at that [division championship] banner and it says 1996 — that’s the last time we won,” Howell said. “We want to go in as league champions, not just as a sixth or seventh seed. It’s important for the program and it’s important for the guys in that dressing room.”

Game one of the Dinos’ series against Edmonton begins at 7 p.m. on Mar. 5 at Clare Drake Arena. The game can be watched live on Canada West TV.

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