MHKY: Four unanswered goals propel Pronghorns over Dinos

MHKY: Four unanswered goals propel Pronghorns over Dinos
Arron Lai; Dinos Communications

CALGARY - In their final game before the holiday break,  the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns scored four unanswered goals to defeat the University of Calgary Dinos 4-3 in overtime, Saturday night at Father David Bauer Arena.

After dropping a 4-1 decision to the Pronghorns the previous night in Lethbridge, the Dinos were looking to salvage a series split on the back end of this home-and-home series. The Dinos got off to a blistering start, scoring three goals within the first 21 minutes of the game, but were unable to generate much offense for the remainder of the game. In fact, the Dinos managed only 11 shots after starting the game with 21 shots and three goals.

"The whole weekend was completely unacceptable," noted ninth-year Dinos head coach Mark Howell. "[We had a] poor work ethic, and were outcompeted and outhustled, again. Two nights in a row."

The Dinos came out in the opening minutes of today's game looking re-energized, as they pressured the Pronghorns with a heavy forecheck. The hard-nosed play by the Dinos would pay off just eight minutes in the period as third year forward Mitch Cook would score his third goal of the season. After an outstanding feed from Coda Gordon behind the Pronghorns net, Cook would fire a perfect snapshot above the glove of goalie Garret Hughson. 
The Dinos would continue the relentless pressure, resulting in Robbie Fisher's second goal of the year just six minutes later. After a determined effort by Logan Fisher in the neutral zone to free the puck to Mitch Cook, the Dinos broke free on a partial 2-on-1 break. Cook would slide the puck over to Robbie Fisher who made no mistake with the tap in.
After outshooting Lethbridge twenty to five in the first frame, the Dinos added to their lead just a minute into the middle stanza. Kelowna native Mitch Cook would score his second goal of the game on a breakaway. Following a scramble in front of the Dinos net, Dylan Busenius would find a streaking Cook with a perfect stretch pass off the boards to set up the chance. Cook would go to the backhand and slide the puck five-hole, fooling Pronghorns goalie Garret Hughson.
"I felt pretty good," noted Cook on his three point performance (two goals, one assist). "Two easy guys to play with tonight in Adam [Kambeitz] and Coda [Gordon], so that made it easy for me. I just had to be in the right spots and try to put the puck in the net."
The Pronghorns were finally able to find an answer for the Dinos speed and intensity four minutes after the Dinos' third goal. Fourth year winger Connor Sanvido fired a snapshot past Dinos rookie netminder Jordan Papirny to pull the Horns within two. The remainder of the period was largely uneventful, as both teams managed to muster only 11 shots in the period (six by the Horns, and five by the Dinos).
Holding a comfortable 3-1 lead against the Horns after 40 minutes, the Dinos seemed to be in prime position to split the weekend series. However, a disastrous start to the period saw the Horns score just 24 second in, on a rebound tap in by Sam McKechnie. Coming into this game, the Dinos had previously won 13 consecutive games against Lethbridge at home. 10 minutes after the McKenchie goal, the Dinos streak was seemingly in jeopardy as Mitchell Maxwell tied the game 3-3. Before the game headed to overtime, fifth year Dino Drydn Dow delivered a massive hit on a Pronghorns defender, in a highlight-reel play.

In overtime, the Pronghorns capitalized on the Dinos' breakdown as Connor Sanvido scored his second goal of the game to lift the Horns to a series sweep. Lethbridge is now tied with Mount Royal for fifth-place in the Canada West standings.

"Obviously some improvements have to be made," explained Cook on his team's first-half of the season. "We are an inconsistent group for sure but we have the ability to be a top team in this conference. It is just a matter of bearing down and sorting things out."

When asked how he would spend his holiday break, Cook explained excitement to return home, but also a desire to get back on the ice.

"I am heading home to Kelowna after finals, and will probably spend ten days at home. It will be nice to see family, but I'm also excited to come back and get back to work."

 Both teams will enjoy their holidays and new year before returning to action, at home, January 5-6. The Dinos will host the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, while the Pronghorns will host the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

Photo by David Moll