Arron Lai, Dinos Communications
CALGARY - After dropping their first game of 2018 against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the team's return to Canada West play, the University of Calgary Dinos defeated the Thunderbirds 4-2 Saturday afternoon at the Father David Bauer arena in Calgary.
Second year goaltender Matthew Greenfield returned to the Dinos crease after rookie Jordan Papirny got the start in last night's game. In another back-and-forth matchup that saw the teams trade the first four goals, the Dinos pulled away in the last fifteen minutes to secure three of a possible four points on the weekend.
Heading into the third and final frame, the Dinos led the Thunderbirds 2-1. However, the T-Birds would begin the third period with a jump in their step, as they tied the game minutes into the final frame. A shot from the left face-off circle by Carter Popoff would hit a skate and trickle in, as heavy traffic screened Matt Greenfield.
Momentum seemingly swung UBC's way, as the T-Birds were awarded a penalty shot. However, Greenfield was sharp, staying with rookie Matt Revel to deny the T-Birds of the lead. The Dinos also received a minor penalty on the same play.
The Dinos would add another goal moments later, courtesy of the newest recruits, Tyler Coulter and Ryan Graham. Teammates in Jacksonville of the ECHL, Graham would find a streaking Coulter.
"It was a great feeling out there," explains Coulter on his first two conference games with the Dinos. "There is nothing like playing with your friends. Especially when you can come out of the weekend with three of four points."
When asked about his goal, Coulter explained he was relieved to get his first as a Dino.
"There is no better feeling than to help to contribute. It has been what I was hoping for since I got here, to get the first one out of the way. I can't help but stress how good of a pass that was by Ryan [Graham]."
Graham, who joined Coulter as the Dinos two new recruits for the second half of the season, explains he is excited to play in Calgary.
"I feel good. It's a change from where I was and I think it is a good change and I am excited to be here."
The Dinos struggled to start the game, unable to muster a shot on goal at the UBC net until the five minutes mark of the first, despite plenty of activity in the offensive zone. However, they picked up the pace and dominated action for the remainder of the period. The Dinos had three powerplays, including a five-on-three, but were unable to find the back of the net despite heavy pressure on UBC goaltender Matt Hewitt.
The Dinos opened the second period with the same intensity in which they finished the first frame. Buzzing around the UBC zone, it only seemed to be a matter of time before the Dinos broke the scoreless tie. At the three minute and forty second mark of the second frame, Dinos captain Dan Gibb unleashed an absolute rocket from the point to give the Dinos a 1-0 lead.
UBC would respond shorty after. After a save by Matt Hewitt in the UBC zone, the Thunderbirds would break out for a two on one odd man rush led by fourth year Michael Stenerson. He would keep the puck, and fire it past Greenfield to tie the game at one.
UBC would also take a penalty on the play, as leading scorer Austin Vetterl was sent to the box for a slash. The Dinos made the most of the opportunity, as Dylan Busenius would unleash a clapper from the point after a cross ice pass from Chris Collins.
After UBC tied the game, goals by Cain Franson and Tyler Coulter would seal a 4-2 victory for the Dinos.
"It is going to be big games every weekend here," explains Coulter on the team's upcoming playoff push. "You just got to focus on the next game ahead of [you] and come to the rink ready to play."
The Dinos will next face their provincial rivals, and Canada West leading University of Alberta Golden Bears in a home-and-home series Jan. 12-13. Puck drop is 7 p.m. on Friday at Clare Drake arena in Edmonton, before shifting to Calgary on Saturday for a 6 p.m. puck drop. The Thunderbirds will travel to Regina for a two-game series against the Cougars.
Photo by David Moll
MHKY: Coulter's first as a Dino propels Calgary over UBC
Arron Lai, Dinos Communications