Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- The first hockey instalment of the Crowchild Classic of the 2018/2019 took place at the Flames Community Arenas Friday night as Mount Royal was looking to build off their sweep of the Manitoba Bisons coming off the bye week, but had their momentum snapped at the hands of their crosstown rival Calgary Dinos 4-1.
"We need a response. Kudos to Calgary, they were determined, faster and stronger tonight. It's going to be a short turnaround for us heading into their place tomorrow night but in saying that, when you have the feeling we had tonight it's nice to have the turnaround so we can move onto the next game." says MRU head coach Bert Gilling.
Calgary extends their winning streak to five games with the win while the Cougars will look to pick themselves up in a very important month of November as spots three to five in the league standings were all tied with 10 points.
Gilling notes, "There's a bigger picture in the month when you know what that month means, it comes down to winning games and the results will take care of themselves. It was a nice humbling experience for the team and we'll get a response to get the train back on the track."
The in-form Dinos picked off right where they left off with a three-goal first period that gave them a stranglehold on the Cougars early on.
Calgary caught MRU off guard and found the back of the net a mere 21 seconds into the contest on a bang-bang play.
Mitch Cook hustled on a dump-and-chase and cleverly slid the puck to the front where Ryan Graham finished off his attempt from point blank range for one of two first period goals for the second-year forward.
Calgary converted on a two-on-one under five minutes later to double their lead at 4:53.
The top Dino line sprung themselves on a fast break and doubled their lead thanks to a Riley Sheen connection of off a Matt Alfaro feed.
Calgary continued to press and suffocate their MRU counterpart all period long. The Cougars scuffed on all their threatening chances and couldn't muster much on Dino netminder Jordan Papirny who only had to stand in front of three shots.
The Dinos found the back of the net for the third time on Graham's second goal of the frame. Setting up in the exact same spot in front of the net, he mirrored his first tally by rifling a shot into the top corner past Colin Cooper who got peppered in the first 20, stopping 10 shots.
Mount Royal elected to switch goaltenders to start the second frame as Riley Morris was brought into action in relief for Cooper.
Morris stopped 12 of 13 in two periods of play.
MRU put on a better effort in the second period and did trouble the Dinos but they couldn't break down the high flying Calgary defensive unit through 40 minutes. Papirny was forced to stand at attention more than he did in the first, stopping a handful of point blank chances.
The Cougars finally showed a pulse of life early in the third frame on Hunter Zandee's third goal of the season.
Mitch Lipon scrapped his way into the Dino end. Fighting off players behind the net, he slid the puck to the front to Zandee who managed to chip the puck while standing in between a triangle of Calgary defenders.
This was the Cougars' only jab at the Dinos on the night Calgary as they couldn't muster anything else offensively.
A fourth and final Dino tally from Dane Gibson sealed them the 4-1 win and their fifth straight win.
The rubber match will take place at the Dino's barn with puck drop at Father David Bauer set for 6 p.m.