Justin Mackenzie; Dinos Communications
CALGARY - It was another Crowchild Classic and another memorable game from the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night as the University of Calgary Dinos broke the hearts of the Mount Royal Cougars with a last-second goal to give Calgary a 2-1 victory.
It was a win which not only gave the team some distance in the standing but also possibly the most important win of the year, in front of the biggest crowd of the year: 11,490 came through the turnstiles at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the third-largest U SPORTS regular season game ever.
A Logan Fisher tripping penalty early in the game gave Mount Royal an opportunity to get on the scoreboard quickly. The Cougars power play showed a little rust on their first man advantage as they weren't able to get much more than a few shots on Dinos netminder Matt Greenfield.
The Dinos had their chance to respond at the nine-minute mark when they were sent to their first power play of the game. However, Cougars goaltender Riley Morris had other ideas, making a sprawling scorpion kick save on what looked to be a sure rebound goal as the powerplay expired.
The narrative was completely goaltender based after the first frame with Matthew Greenfield and Riley Morris both making a couple spectacular saves on a combined 26 saves to keep the game knotted at zero.
It was Connor Rankin who opened the scoring just past the six-minute mark in the second, getting in front of the net and tipping it passed Greenfield to bury his sixth of the year and give Mount Royal the first tally of the game.
A point shot from Tyson Helgesen found the stick of Connor Rankin in front of the net, redirecting past Greenfield at the 5:30 mark in the second period
The period went from bad to worse for the Dinos early as they went down two men before they had a chance to even the score. A solid penalty kill unit fended off a Mount Royal offence that was hungry to extend the lead.
A late second period press by the Dinos was to no avail as the Cougars continued to look solid on defense and were able to keep their slim one goal lead in tact going into the final frame.
A tripping penalty to Tim Vanstone, his second of the game just 30 seconds into the final frame, gave worry to half of the Saddledome as Dinos fans were forced to watch their team start the period on the kill.
The Dinos' strong penalty killed seemed to ignite the Calgary offence as Chris Rauckman stormed in on the left side after taking a feed from linemate Josh Uhrich and fired a wrist shot under the arm of Morris to even up the score at one.
The last chance before sending this game in what seems to be an annual overtime thriller came in the form of a Dinos power play with two minutes left. The power play unit was able to get one last set up in the offensive zone before regulation ended.
A Dylan Busenius broken stick resulted in the puck falling to Riley Sheen, a familiar face when it comes to finding the back of the net, seeing the game suddenly rested on one final shot. A flustered Riley Morris quickly tried to bounce back to square up Sheen's shot but was unsuccessful as the sniper did what he did best in the clutch to give Calgary a 2-1 lead with three seconds left on the clock.
"When you get a bounce like that you have to take advantage of those opportunities," said Sheen about the game winner.
The Dinos will reset and host the Regina Cougars for a two-game set at Father David Bauer Arena Friday and Saturday nights.
Photo by David Moll