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Emilie Medland-Marchen

Dinos suffer double losses against No. 8 ranked Pandas

By Emilie Medland-Marchen, January 22 2017 —

The Dinos women’s hockey team fell to provincial rivals the University of Alberta Pandas twice in a home-barn split this weekend.

After a tough 4–0 loss against the Pandas in Edmonton on Jan. 20, the Dinos returned to Calgary for a rematch at the Father David Bauer Arena. Despite a strong effort from the Dinos in the first period, a series of Alberta power plays allowed the Pandas to run away with the night in a 7–1 win.

“I’m disappointed,” Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette said. “I thought we started well, the first period was really good — much better than what we did [on Jan. 20] and that’s what we asked for. As soon as they scored the second goal, we were discouraged and not mentally strong enough. Today was tough, but at the end of the day we need to be stronger emotionally.”

The Pandas kicked off the second half of the home-game split with a goal by defenceman Alex Poznikoff just one minute into the game. It was a lacklustre start to a lacklustre game for the Dinos, who only managed to score one goal on their Alberta rivals. Fourth-year Dinos veteran Kate Lumley shoved a loose puck into the net at 10 minutes into the game, assisted by fourth-year Sasha Vafina and second-year Delaney Frey.

But after briefly tying up the period, the Pandas fired back with two more goals for a 3–1 lead at the end of the first. A relatively even offensive effort saw the two teams at eight shots on goal for the Dinos and 12 for the Pandas, but an inconsistent defensive effort resulted in two give-away goals for the visitors.

“We created a lot of good scoring chances,” Goyette said. “We’re not a team that usually gets that many goals per game. Every time we miss a goal, it’s hard to get that momentum back. We need to keep it going.”

The second period was more of the same for Calgary, who struggled to capitalize on major power play opportunities. A U of A power play goal early in the period led to a dominant 4–1 score for the Pandas. While Alberta took advantage of successive Dinos penalties in the second period, Calgary couldn’t follow up with the same. The Dinos wasted a two-man advantage near the end of the second and were unable to penetrate the stellar Alberta defensive effort and find the net. With the only goal of the period, Alberta had a 4–1 lead over the Dinos with 22 shots on goal to Calgary’s 13 going into intermission.

The Dinos spent the majority of the third period in the penalty box after a series of controversial calls. Alberta came out swinging at the start of the period, firing off another goal at 20 seconds to bring them to a 5–1 lead. Halfway through the period, the Dinos had racked up seven penalties on the night, creating a momentum loss that couldn’t be recovered. A 10-minute misconduct penalty towards the end of the period was challenged by Goyette. The small crowd booed the referees as first-year forward Rachel Paul was sent to the box.

“We didn’t lose because of the ref, but for me, I could see that the girls were frustrated,” Goyette said. “At the end of the day, I felt for them because they were trying to work hard and things that usually go by when the score is 4–1 or 5–1, they just didn’t tonight and it was frustrating for the players. But this is not a reason to be undisciplined and this is something that we need to correct as a team.”

The frustration was visible on the faces of the Dinos. Calgary couldn’t fend off the final push from Alberta, who sank three goals by capitalizing on the Dinos’ missteps. After outshooting Calgary 15–38 by the end of the third and bringing the score to a disheartening 7–1, the Dinos were ready to see the game end.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. The Dinos are currently last in the Canada West. After making the playoffs last season, a spot in the Canada West finals this year is only possible if the Dinos women win all six of their upcoming games. While Goyette acknowledges the tough road ahead, she maintains an optimistic attitude and a belief in her team.

“We have to go one game at a time,” Goyette said. “We can’t look six games down the road because it’s too much to demand for this team. Not that we aren’t capable, but we need to take it one game at a time.”

The Dinos struggled to secure passes and were constantly fighting for loose pucks. By contrast, Alberta put up the consistent, unified effort they’ve been known for throughout the season. With the Pandas ranked third in the Canada West and the Dinos in last place, the stark contrast between the two teams showed in their connection on the ice.

But while Calgary struggled to defend their season standing against a higher ranked team, there were some moments of clarity. Although second-year netminder Sarah Murray struggled throughout the first period, a tripping penalty seemed to kick her into gear for the second. She made some beautiful saves over the course of the night, braving the Alberta offensive effort while her teammates struggled to defend the net.

Fourth-year veteran Sasha Vafina showed off her speed and stickhandling skills throughout the night, making quick work of Alberta’s defence and rushing the net in breakaway opportunities. Although she couldn’t secure a goal, her presence on the ice was a consistent offensive threat to Alberta.

Looking ahead, Goyette is hoping to utilize those strong moments to build on the team’s mental preparedness.

“We have to be stronger mentally,” she said. “We cannot go and play just on emotion, because sometimes it’s going to work for you and sometimes it’s going to go against you. We were not on the same page for the whole 60 minutes tonight and we need to work on that.”


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