Lance Doucet, Calgary Sports Information
CALGARY – Leonardo Culina's goal in the 18th minute proved to be the game winner as the University of Calgary Dinos recorded a 3-0 win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams entered the match looking to salvage points from the opening weekend. Calgary was coming off a 4-2 defeat to the Saskatchewan Huskies, while the Pronghorns had fallen 3-0 against the Mount Royal Cougars.
Displaying the fast-paced offensive game head coach Brendan O'Connell preached during training camp, the Dinos controlled the tempo for most of the afternoon, outshooting the Pronghorns 18-5.
"Defensively we got it right, we were asking for a clean sheet and got that. I am pleased with the reaction from yesterday," said O'Connell. "We like to play the game quickly and we have players that can get goals. It was just the defending responsibilities we needed to get right and we did that."
With the first goal of the game, Culina recorded his second tally in as many games. Picking up the ball off a corner kick, the third-year midfielder took possession near the outside of the box where he fired a long-range attempt that rolled past Horns' goalkeeper Nolan French.
The Dinos doubled their lead in the 37th minute as Bryce Connors quickly came into the game and scored. With substitutions coming in for both sides, Lethbridge got crossed up in their assignments, leading to a Calgary odd-man rush where Dominik Zuczek fed Connors for an easy tap-in.
Decklin Mahmi notched his first career U SPORTS goal in the 64th minute to round out the scoring in the second half. Going left to right, Jeff Spolnik sailed the ball into the box where Mahmi was in a position to knock the ball through French.
"With the team we have, I think there is always going to be goals, but it is always nice to open your account, so we are pleased for Decklin," commented O'Connell.
Play got physical in the late stages of the second half, but it would not have an effect on the final score. Dinos goalkeeper Jake Ruschkowski closed out the match with two saves in 90 minutes to earn his first win of the season.
With the Sunday result, the Dinos improve to 1-1-0 in Canada West play, while the Pronghorns have now lost back-to-back games to open the season.
Calgary will play their next two games on the road as they travel to Edmonton to face the Alberta Golden Bears and MacEwan Griffins, Sept. 8-9.
The Pronghorns open the home portion of their schedule next weekend, hosting Alberta and MacEwan.
Photo by David Moll