Rookies shine for Dinos in Crowchild Classic victory

Rookies shine for Dinos in Crowchild Classic victory

Donna Cumming, Dinos Communications Assistant

CALGARY - The University of Calgary Dinos edged the Mount Royal University Cougars 3-2 in the 4th annual Crowchild Classic at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday, January 21. 

 The Dinos' win came courtesy of goals from three rookie forwards, Chelsea Court, Delaney Frey and Rylee Smith. Smith picked up her first CIS goal in dramatic fashion, as she recorded the deciding goal 4:37 into the 3rd period. The victory extended the Dinos win streak to 4 games, improving their record to 7-14. The Cougars dropped to 10-11 with the loss.

 "I don't think I've ever been so excited in my life. I was super pumped to score in such a big event, words can't describe it," said Dinos rookie Rylee Smith on scoring her first CIS goal. 

 The Dinos drew first blood 5:26 into the first period. Heather Berzins' centering pass found Chelsea Court, who beat Cougars' goaltender Jess Ross with a five-hole shot along the ice. The Dinos took a 1-0 lead into the second period, outshooting the Cougars 11-5. 

 Mount Royal came out hard in the second, forcing Dinos goaltender Hayley Dowling to come up with some big saves early on. Despite several big saves from the Dinos' netminder, the Cougars tied it up on a point shot from Janessa Jenkins that hit the post and deflected off Dowling's skate into the net. 

 Midway through the second, the Dinos answered back when rookie forward, Delaney Frey got a breakaway and deked out Cougars' goaltender, beating her high blocker-side. With less than two minutes remaining in the middle frame, Sarah Weninger fed a pass to Janessa Jenkins in the slot, whose wrist shot beat Dowling blocker-side. Jenkins' second of the night made it a 2-2 tie going into the final 20 minutes.

 Calgary pulled ahead for a third time when Rylee Smith picked up a loose puck in the face-off circle and fired a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Ross to make it 3-2. 

 "When I got the puck, I was in a position where I had no choice but to shoot and it went in so I lucked out," Smith explained. "I saw net and I had to shoot."

 Despite a late surge from Mount Royal, including a 6 on 4 in the final minute with Stephanie Zvonkovic in the box and the Cougars' net empty, the Dinos held on for the win. The Dinos, currently in last place in CanadaWest, are making a strong push for a play-off spot as they continue to rack up the points in the second half of the season. 

 "We just want to keep working hard," said Smith. "If everyone is on the same page and we all work together we will hopefully have a good outcome."

 The Cougars and the Dinos will face off again tomorrow night, Friday, January 22. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT at Flames Community Arena in Calgary.

 -UC-