Kelly-Anne Roberts, Dinos Communications Assistant
CALGARY- Coming off a tough weekend against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the University of Calgary Dinos were held out of the win column, falling 2-1 against the No. 6 University of Alberta Golden Bears, Friday evening, Jan. 20th at the Father David Bauer Arena.
The Dinos celebrated their three graduating players; forward Danny Gayle, forward Dylan Walchuk and goaltender Steven Stanford on their impressive University careers before the game.
"Anytime you're playing four or five years, it means you are a committed individual," said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. "All three of those guys are committed off the ice, they've all become really important people to our team and Stanford has only been here for two years but he cares. Walchuk and Danny have been here for four years. They've been here, committed and have done a good job for the program."
Neither team could generate much offensively in the first period. Alberta goaltender Brendan Burke stopped all nine shots that came his way while Dinos goaltender Steven Stanford kept all six shots he faced in front of him.
"I thought in the first we played really, really well," explained Howell. "I thought we controlled the period for the most part. I thought after we made it one nothing the game got away from us. We started to play more of a game of trading chances with them, and we don't want to do that."
It didn't take long in the middle frame for the Dinos to get things going. On the power play, Walchuk fed Dylan Busenius from the half-wall, Busenius walked the blue line before firing a wrist shot from the point. Chris Collins redirect the shot past Burke for his second on the season.
Alberta couldn't solve Stanford in the second period, with the greatest chance coming at the half-way point of the game where a wrister was shot from the top of the face-off circle to the blocker side of Stanford. The fifth-year goaltender just got a piece of it with his glove to keep the Dinos ahead.
Calgary looked to extend its lead before the end of the period. Busenius and Gayle fired several low shots on Burke who let out a couple of large rebounds but no one was in front to capitalize.
The Golden Bears were quick to tie the game in the third period. Just over three minutes into the final stanza, on their first shot of the period. Jamie Crooks forced a turnover to the side of the Dinos net, Stephane Legault picked up the puck, setting Cole Sanford up in front – who fired Legault's back-hand pass on net, just under the glove of Stanford.
Just past the mid-way point of the period on the power play, Alberta made quicker work, scoring just four seconds on the advantage. On the face-off to the glove-side of Stanford, Taylor Cooper won the draw straight back to defenceman Graeme Craig who fired a slap shot, upstairs, over the glove of Stanford.
Calgary battled to try and tie the game. Stanford made a cross-crease pad save on a three-on-one late in the period. The Dinos greatest opportunity to tie the game came in the dying seconds when Chris Collins was awarded a penalty shot – Burke made the blocker save to hold onto the two-one win.
The Dinos will travel to Edmonton tomorrow to take on the Golden Bears in the second game in the home-and-home series.
"We've played there enough that we know how tough it is to play there," stated Howell. "We just have to make sure we play smart and that we don't get into a track meet with them. They're going to be quick in their rink we just have to make sure that we stay on top of things, that we play simple and smart hockey."