Max Sturley, Dinos Communications
CALGARY – A night after a double-overtime heartbreaker, the University of Calgary Dinos dropped a tight-checking contest against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-1, Saturday evening at the Father David Bauer Arena.
"We gave everything we had and we played a good game tonight," said Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette.
"We're starting to play more aggressively… our speed was way higher and we made some good plays. At the end of the day, we have to capitalize on our chances and continue to learn how to do that as a team."
The Dinos came out firing early after a sloppy breakout from the Pronghorns. Sage Desjardins forced a turnover in the high slot before getting denied by Lethbridge goaltender Alicia Anderson's glove hand.
Nine minutes into the opening period, the Pronghorns opened the scoring. Eryn Johanson collected the puck atop the left faceoff circle, before cutting around the Dinos defence to slip a backhander through the wickets of Dinos goaltender Kelsey Roberts, giving Lethbridge the 1-0 lead.
After a series of chances for the Dinos including a remarkable save from Anderson, robbing Sara Craven on the goal line after a wraparound, back-to-back penalties for Lethbridge gave Calgary 1:55 of 5-on-3 power play time.
A minute into the advantage, Paige Michalenko delayed before wristing a shot on Anderson which was initially stopped with the glove. The rebound was poked right into the slot and eventually came loose to a pinching Laine Grace, as she went to the backhand to tie the game, 1-1. The goal for Grace gave her the lead in team scoring with seven points.
Entering the second period, the Dinos pushed the pace in the opening 10 minutes, which was capped off by a glorious look from forward Rachel Paul. Off the rush through the offensive zone, Paul took a pass from line mate Sage Desjardins and cut to the net. Paul went to the backhand to try to roof the puck, but was denied by Anderson's windmill glove, keeping the game locked.
Moments after the Anderson save, Ashley McCabe restored the Lethbridge lead. A bouncing centring pass below the goal line combined with Roberts being knocked out of position, allowed McCabe to deposit the puck into the wide open net on doorstep, making it 2-1 for the visitors.
With four minutes remaining in the second, the Dinos generated two quality chances which were denied by the post, then crossbar in the span of 20 seconds. Laine Grace stepped into a slapshot that went off the right post, before Rachel Paul fired a one-timer from the left circle that Anderson deflected with her glove before going off the crossbar.
Desjardins started off the third period with another scoring chance, just 14 seconds in. Paul tossed a cross-ice pass that Desjardins directed on goal, but once again was beaten by Anderson. Not to be outdone, a minute later, McCabe looking for her second goal of the night was denied by Roberts off a one-timer in the high slot.
The Dinos were given multiple power plays down the stretch, including in the final two minutes. The Pronghorns clamped down defensively to hold on for the weekend sweep.
The victory coupled with a Mount Royal loss leaves the Pronghorns two points back of the final playoff spot in Canada West.
The Dinos will host the UBC Thunderbirds next weekend while the Pronghorns will welcome the Saskatchewan Huskies.