Jeff Sargeant, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The Calgary Dinos came out flying Saturday night at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and never looked back in a 6-3 win over the UBC Thunderbirds to even the Canada West quarter-final series at one game apiece.
The Dinos staked out a 3-0 lead by the early stages of the second period and held off the Thunderbirds who twice came within two.
Trailing 4-2 after 40 minutes and after finishing off a solid second half of the second period, the Thunderbirds found themselves on the wrong side of another momentum swing five minutes into the third. Riley Sheen scored his second of the night and third of the series to re-establish Calgary's three-goal lead.
Then with just under six minutes remaining, Matt Revel fed the puck along the boards in his own zone to Michael Stenerson who turned on the jets and powered up the ice wristing the puck off Dinos netminder Matthew Greenfield and in to once again pull the 'Birds within two.
But with Matt Hewitt on the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute, Ryan Graham hit the empty net to put the game on ice while extending Calgary's season.
Hewitt made 25 saves in the loss while the Dinos outshot the T-Birds 31-30. UBC failed to score on five power play chances, several of which were cut short, while the Dinos finished 2-for-10.
Calgary certainly showed up as the desperate team scoring twice within a 2:17 span in the first period to take a quick 2-0 lead. Mitch Cook fired in his first of the series at the 6:03 mark followed by Coda Gordon's first of the playoffs after picking up a rebound off a Brayden Sherbinin shot.
Chris Collins scored 2:41 into the second on the power play to make it a 3-0 Dinos lead before Tyler Sandhu got the 'Birds on the board seven minutes later. Nick Buonassisi picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and passed it across to Sandhu who earned his first of the playoffs with a perfectly placed wrister.
But the Dinos responded just 19 seconds later to re-take their three goal lead with Sheen's first of the game.
Carter Popoff scored his second of the series at the 12:53 mark to once again make it a two-goal game. Sandhu made a beautiful back-hand pass across the slot to Popoff who sniped the puck over Greenfield's right shoulder, Joe Carvalho picked up the second assist.
The Calgary win forces a third and deciding game Sunday afternoon at Doug Mitchell with a matchup against the Saskatchewan Huskies on the line for a semi final series next weekend. Puck drop Sunday is set for 5:30 p.m. PT.
PHOTO: Bob Frid, UBC Thunderbirds