CALGARY - In the opening match of their home-and-home series, the University of Calgary Dinos dropped a 7-5 decision to the University of Alberta Golden Bears at Father David Bauer arena in Calgary.
The Dinos entered the game with a 3-0-1 record after sweeping the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds last weekend on the road. The Bears entered this game with a 4-0-0 record after a sweep of their own, against the University of Manitoba Bisons.
The first period was characterized by strong forechecking from the Bears. This resulted in two goals for the visitors, with the first coming 6:09 into the game, by rookie Steven Owre. The second goal came 10 minutes later, at 16:06, when Jason Fram made a strong move in front of the crease to put the Bears ahead 2-0. They controlled most of the first period, as the Dinos were hampered by three penalties.
The Dinos started the second period looking rejuvenated, as they put some pressure on Bears goalie Brendan Burke. This pressure was halted when the Bears scored their third goal of the game, thanks to a crafty play by Garrett Forster. However, The Dinos' hard work payed off shortly after, as Prince Albert Raiders alumni Tim Vanstone scored his second goal of the season on a rebound tap-in after a shot by Coda Gordon below the left faceoff circle. The Dinos would score again less than two minutes later on the powerplay. A crafty cycle between Dylan Busenius and Riley Sheen would see Sheen step into the top of the faceoff circle to fire a snapshot past Brendan Burke. The Bears would respond before the second period ended, as a pass from behind the net to the slot saw Graeme Craig restore the Bears' two goal lead.
The game was a physical, chippy affair, with the teams combining for fifteen penalties. "I thought our guys were over-emotional" explains Dinos head coach Mark Howell. "Just not very composed; we took some real bad penalties and that cost us. You can't give good teams that many powerplays or they are going to kill you and that's exactly what happened."
In the third period, the Bears would take a penalty two minutes into the period. The Dinos were able to capitalize to trim the deficit to 4-3. Rookie Riley Sheen tallied his second goal of the game, and third of the season, with Luke Harrison and Adam Kambeitz drawing the assists. Later in the period, Taylor Cooper of the Bears would restore a two goal cushion for the team as he scored with ten minutes remaining to make it 5-3.
Discipline was an issue all night for the Dinos, and two concurrent minor penalties would give the Bears four minutes of power play time with eight minutes remaining in the third. However, the Dinos would score a short handed goal as a strange bounce from behind the net would give the Dinos their fourth of the night, trimming the deficit to 5-4. Moments later however, the Bears would score back to back goals to take the 7-4 lead. The Dinos refused to quit, as a clean faceoff win by Tim Vanstone led to Chris Rauckman scoring with a fantastic top shelf laser. However, it was too little too late as the Dinos would fall 7-5.
In assessing his game, Chris Rauckman, who transferred to the program this year from the University of PEI, explains: "I think my game was like everybody else's, we had a rough start and we gradually started to get better. But every time we scored, they would answer right back and it was tough to save it."
Moving forward into tomorrow's rematch with the Golden Bears in Edmonton, Rauckman explains: "We got to have a short memory. We got to put this game behind us and learn from our mistakes. A big thing with our team is we watch a lot of video so we got to look at that. We got to have a fresh mind going into tomorrow."
Despite the loss, head coach Mark Howell was pleased with his team's resiliency throughout the game.
The Dinos and Bears will face off in a rematch tomorrow at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m.