Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- University of Calgary Dinos and Mount Royal Cougars are separated by a few kilometers down the road, and own one of the most unique rivalries across Canada. For the seventh straight season, the Dinos and Cougars clashed inside the Scotiabank Saddledome, in front of a capacity crowd of 11,490.
Playing in his final 'Classic', defender Grant Baker talks about his experience of taking part in the event.
"It's been quite the ride for the last five years. Every game has been different and exciting. Playing for a couple hundred people is nothing compared to seeing a few thousand during warm-ups."
"I know everyone else in Canada and across USPORTS are in envy of us so it's something special to be a part of," Baker concludes.
For the fourth straight year, the Dinos break the heart of 'Coug nation' thanks to final second heroics, stealing a 2-1 decision.
Calgary also completes the double sweep of the Cougars on the season and give themselves even more separation between themselves and the bottom of the Canada West playoff picture.
Both teams were lifted to a sixth gear thanks to their fan base that grew louder as the game progressed.
MRU were the pressing team early on but kept getting hit with counter-attacks from the Dinos, who utterly bombarded the Cougar net.
Riley Morris absolutely stood on his head during the first frame, making every save at a desperation effort, stopping 14 pucks in valiant fashion.
Both teams took a 0-0 game into the first break, but in the second the momentum of the game swung for the Cougars and their fans in blue.
Ex-Calgary Hitmen star Connor Rankin blew the roof of the 'Dome when he got a piece of a Tyson Helgesen point-shot for his second goal in 'Classic' out of the last three at 5:34.
Both schools fought back and forth, but MRU missed plenty of key opportunities that resulted to bite the Cougars late in the game.
Chris Rauckman broke the heroic shutout bid at 5:39 of the third, just getting enough power on his shot to inch the puck under the arm of Morris for his only mistake of the game.
Morris stopped 29 on the night and reflects on his first Crowchild experience.
"It was the biggest, loudest fan base I've ever been a part of. It was a surreal experience to be a part of," he says.
"You can really hear them when they're on your side of the building. Every time they got going they really picked us up, it pushes you to work harder… we're still in the race and in the fight for playoff position."
With MRU getting themselves in penalty trouble that put the nail in their own coffin. After one late penalty killed with under two minutes left, the Cougars took a too-many-men penalty.
In Hollywood-like fashion, Riley Sheen had the puck slide to him after a stick broke and absolutely roofed the game-winning puck into the roof of the net with three seconds left.
MRU have now dropped four in a row overall and four inside of the 'Dome.
Calgary host lowly Regina while MRU travel to Saskatoon for a weekend set against the Huskies.