Kelly-Anne Roberts, Dinos Communications Assistant
CALGARY- Over 100 minutes and 100 shots later the University of Calgary Dinos defeated the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 5-4 in triple overtime, the second longest Canada West playoff game in history, Friday evening at the Father David Bauer Arena.
Calgary leads the best of three quarter-final one nothing and looks to close out the series Saturday evening on home ice.
"It was a relief, it was a pretty good game," explained the overtime hero Dylan Busenius. "Any time a game goes 100 plus minutes you know it turns into a battle of endurance but I thought our team did a really good job, especially the guys who were asked to play more minutes than they normally do but it was a solid effort all together."
Nerves were a factor in the first game of the Canada West quarter-final. Goaltenders on either side of the rink made their first playoff appearance in net, with Calgary's Matt Greenfield being a first-year, while UBC's Derek Dun is a third year transfer from the NCAA.
"A part of our identity this year has been our goaltending, we have three of the best goalies in the league," stated Busenius. "I think when any one of the three is in net there is the same confidence in them from the guys. Greenfield did a really great job tonight."
The Crowchild Classic hero, Danny Gayle opened the scoring for the Dinos mid-way through the starting frame. Drydn Dow made a cross-ice pass to Cain Franson on the far blue line, Franson stepped into the Thunderbirds zone before hitting Gayle with a pass in the high slot. Gayle made one move in the slot before putting the backhand shot past a screened Dun.
It didn't take the Thunderbirds long to respond. Carter Popoff entered the Dinos zone along the boards, cut in across the top of the circle before ringing a shot off the post. Riley Guenther stepped in from the point to jump on the rebound, putting a quick snap shot past Greenfield.
Early in the second period, Parker Bowles broke the 1-1 tie. Bowles picked up a bouncing puck on the Thunderbirds blue line, streaked into the zone, in close and alone with Dun, Bowles cut across the crease waiting Dun out before putting the puck upstairs.
UBC tied it up once again, at the 11-minute mark of the period on the power play. Jerret Smith took a slap shot from the point, and Greenfield made the first save but Anthony Bardaro was on his doorstep to put away the rebound.
On the power play, the Canada West regular season leading goal scorer would continue his scoring streak into the playoffs. Elgin Pearce buried the puck off a low wrist shot. Bowles fed Pearce a pass across the neutral zone, Pearce broke into UBC's zone, toe-dragged around one defender before releasing the wrister.
The third period would not solve the back-and-forth goal scoring action that was a precedent throughout the first 40 minutes. The Thunderbirds tied things up early in the third during some four-on-four action. The Dinos Greenfield made the initial save on Luke Lockhart's shot but Kyle Becker buried the rebound.
For the first time in the game, UBC pulled ahead. With just under five minutes to play, Lockhart made a pass across the offensive zone to Nick Buonassisi back door. Buonassisi fed Adam Rossignol cross-crease for the tap in.
"I thought we did a great job, our leaders did a really good job in between periods just keeping the guys together and making sure that no matter what the score was that we don't get too up or down and that we manage our emotions," said Busenius. "After they scored the goal and went ahead for the first time we stuck together, there was no panic."
The Dinos tied the game in the dying minutes of the game to send this one to overtime. Adam Kambeitz won the draw to the glove side of Dun, Franson stepped in to pass back to Busenius who fired a slap shot from the point. Dun made the first save but Franson was right there to find a way around Dun's pad to send it to overtime.
Neither the first nor the second overtime would solve anything. It wouldn't be until early in the third overtime period that Busenius would end it with a wrist shot from the point. Logan Fisher passed the puck to Busenius on the point, Busenius walked the line, faked a slap shot, and stepped around a Thunderbird before wristing the OT winner high glove side past Dun.
UBC and Calgary will face-off again tomorrow for the second game in the best of three quarter-final action, puck is set to drop at 6 pm.
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