CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos upset the defending gold medallists, the Western University Mustangs, with a 3-1 victory in the second consolation semi-final at the 2016 CIS National Championships on Saturday, March 19.
The win for the host team gives them a chance to play for fifth place in the consolation final against the St. Thomas Tommies. The Dinos and the Tommies will face off at 9:00 a.m. MT on Sunday, March 20. After going all the way in the 2015 CIS Championships, the loss gave the Western Mustangs an early exit from the tournament.
This morning's victory guaranteed an upgrade on the Dinos 8th place finish in 2015. The 7th and 8th seed teams, the Dinos and the Tommies, both pulled off upsets in their consolation semis defeating the 2015 gold and silver medallists, the Western Mustangs and the McGill Martlets. The two teams who made it all the way in 2015 are the first two teams eliminated from the tournament in 2016.
"I'm really happy with the effort and the way we played today. I have to give credit to the girls they executed exactly what we were asking for," said Dinos head coach, Danielle Goyette. "To get the win today, I'm so happy not just as a coach but for the team. If you look back at where we were in October, to see that team today it's amazing how much all the players have improved. As coaches we're amazed by this group of girls because they never quit. It's such a pleasure to be able to coach these girls."
The Dinos top line forwards were their best players tonight. Rookie Chelsea Courtand fifth year veteran Iya Gavrilova were the leading scorers with a goal and an assist each. Western's lone goal scorer was rookie forward, April Clark.
Calgary goaltender Hayley Dowling had a strong performance this morning, stopping 26 of 27 shots. The 2015 CIS Tournament MVP, Western's fifth year netminder Kelly Campbell, made 24 saves on 27 shots.
"Goaltending is so good at the National level," explained Goyette. "When you have a good goaltender, you're not going to beat her very often on the first shot. If you want to be successful you have to create rebounds and outwork the goalie and that's what we did today."
The Dinos drew first blood at 15:54 of the opening frame, when Morgan Loroff's point shot was deflected by Court over the shoulder of Campbell and in to the top corner.
Calgary added to their 1-0 lead early in the second thanks to a relentless effort from Gavrilova. When Court found Gavrilova with a pass in the neutral zone, she carried it over the blueline, deked out the Mustangs' defender and got a shot on net. She proceeded to pick up her own rebound and bury it past Campbell.
Western answered back just 23 seconds later, when Clark circled out from behind the Dinos net and beat Dowling with a wrist shot high glove side. Midway through the second, the Dinos added to their lead on the power play when Cheyann Newman made a nifty pass to Kelsie Lang who had a tap-in goal to make it 3-1.
Calgary shut down the Western comeback attempt in the third period, to take the game by a 3-1 margin.
"We've been fighting the puck for a while, just can't find the net," explained Mustangs head coach, David Barrett. "From an effort perspective, I don't think we could have asked for much more. There are always execution challenges and ways we could have played better, but I'm proud of our girls and how they played this year."
Chelsea Court got the Player of the Game award for the Dinos and April Clark was awarded the title for the Mustangs.