CALGARY – In front of an electric crowd of 531 fans on Friday night at the Father David Bauer Arena, the No. 2 University of Calgary Dinos stunned the No. 1 University of Alberta Golden Bears with a 2-0 win, handing them their first loss of the season and extending their own undefeated streak to 13 games.
It was a contest being talk about around the city and across the country, two 12-0-0 teams, the only in defeated clubs in the CIS, and another installment of the Battle of Alberta. The game didn’t disappoint with both teams playing a tightly contested first 40 minutes before Calgary finally found the back of the net.
“In the first two periods we were tentative, I thought we looked nervous and were thinking too much,” said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “In the third period we told the guys we have believed in how we have played all year and we had to get back to doing it. We were really good in the third.”
The Dinos now have a 13-0-0 record and claim top spot, alone, in Canada West. Alberta is now 12-1-0 as Calgary remains the only team to beat the Golden Bears all season, including two pre-season games in September.
“It wasn’t pretty, they are a very good team and coming in we respected them a little bit too much,” stated forward Kevin King. “A big thanks goes out to our fans, today was unbelievable having that many people support us and it gave us that little extra push.”
The first two period didn’t see a puck cross the line, but that didn’t slow down a very competitive game. The opening frame was Alberta’s best as they found a way to jump on a shaky Calgary team, outshooting them 12-8. The Golden Bears went scoreless in their two power play chances while Calgary failed to score on their only one.
Trends continued in the second period as the goaltenders displayed their dominance. The Golden Bears once again outshot the Dinos 12-8, but Alberta’s Kurtis Mucha had the more difficult of the stops. The Alberta netminder struggled with rebounds but found a way to keep the game tied.
Alberta may not have had the best chances in the second period, but they definitely had the most pressure. The countries’ top -ranked team hemmed the Dinos in their end multiple times, even managing to draw a penalty. Calgary showed why their penalty kill is one of the strongest parts of their game though as they eliminated any chances in front of the goal.
With the game still scoreless in the third period, Jacob DeSerres made a spectacular save to keep the Golden Bears off the board. Stretching across the crease, the Calgary native robbed Torrie Dyck with a right pad save just minutes into the period.
Being much more aggressive in the third, the Dinos finally turned on the red light. After an initial shot by Walker Wintoneak was stopped, King pounced on the loose puck and beat Mucha in front for his third goal of the year at 6:25.
With the Golden Bears playing a little stunned, Calgary continued the charge and connected once again. Pulling the puck from behind the net for a wrap-around, Taylor Stefishen pocketed his second goal of the season under a minute after the tally by King.
Hoping to close the gap, Alberta pulled their goaltender with just over a minute left in regulation. Despite some more time in the Dinos’ zone, the Golden Bears couldn’t find a way to get anything past DeSerres as he notched his second shutout of the year with 32 saves.
Alberta outshot Calgary 32-26. The Dinos were 0-3 on the power play, while the Golden Bears went 0-4.
These two teams will do it all over again tomorrow evening at the Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton. Puck drop is 6 p.m. with the game being streamed on CanadaWest.TV
The Dinos will close out the first half of the season next weekend as they host the Regina Cougars in a two-game set. Action goes on Nov. 29 and 30 at the Father David Bauer Arena.
Alberta will be at home next weekend as they finish off the pre-Christmas schedule versus the Manitoba Bisons from Nov. 29-30.