By Ashton Chugh, January 8 2015 —
The University of Calgary men’s hockey team couldn’t muster a win against the University of Alberta Golden Bears, losing game one 6–1 on Jan. 3 and game two 5–3 on Jan. 4.
Game one saw five different Golden Bears find the back of the net as the country’s top team easily cruised to the victory in Edmonton.
“After that first one went in, I don’t know if it was our belief that went down, but we stopped competing,” said Dinos head coach Mark Howell.
Golden Bears defenceman Jesse Craige scored twice, while Brett Ferguson and Stephane Legault collected three assists. Elgin Pearce netted the lone goal for the Dinos.
“Really disappointed with our effort tonight. For the last 50 minutes they were the better team. Their desire was much higher than ours,” Howell said. “It has nothing to do with X’s and O’s, it is about desire and wanting to be in first. They wanted it more.”
The Golden Bears took a 2–0 lead in the first period. A short side attempt by Alberta forward Riley Kieser over the glove of Jacob DeSerres opened the scoring at 4:50. Minutes later, Golden Bears forward Kruise Reddick doubled the lead by putting back a rebound while on the power play for his seventh goal of the season.
Alberta extended their lead to three in the second period. Reddick tapped the puck through a pair of Dinos defenders, spotting James Dobrowolski for a quick shot that beat the Calgary netminder.
Two goals in 10 seconds from Craige signalled the end of DeSerres’ night as Kris Lazaruk relieved him for the final 15 minutes of the third period. The goals by Craige brought his total up to four.
Calgary broke Alberta’s shutout with 12 minutes left in the final frame. Second-year forward Chris Collins drove hard to the net, creating traffic in front. This allowed Pearce to score his 12th goal of the season. Dylan Walchuk picked up an assist on the play.
Alberta outshot Calgary 47–20. The Dinos went 0–for–2 on the power play, while the Golden Bears went three–for–four.
Game two saw the Dinos jump out to a two-goal lead in the first period. However, their lead was short-lived as the Golden Bears stormed back to win 5–3 in Calgary.
Looking to rebound, Calgary came out with a valiant effort.
But they were met by an Alberta team that worked its way back into the match with a strong power play and clutch scoring in the third period.
“Everyone was embarrassed last night and the guys came out today and got two in the first,” Howell said.
The Dinos converted on a power play two minutes into the game to take an early lead. Davis Vandane sent the puck towards the net where Dylan Walchuk managed a tight pass across to Chris Collins. The Calgary native whipped one past Alberta’s goalie, Lucas Siemens, for his eighth goal of the season.
Neither team could convert again until the final minute of the first. An Alberta turnover led to an odd-man rush by Collins and Walchuk. With the puck at the right side, Walchuk waited patiently before feeding Collins for his second of the period.
“I thought Walchuk skated really well in the practices after Christmas and was one of our standout players on Saturday,” Howell said. “Tonight he was really good and has turned the corner and is taking it to another level.”
A pair of power-play goals in the second frame allowed the Golden Bears to tie the game. Jordan Rowley got the visitors on the board when his shot went off Kris Lazaruk and in at eight minutes. At 17:06, the conference’s top scorer, Jordan Hickmott, tied the game with assists going to T.J. Foster and Brett Ferguson.
A two-on-one by Alberta in the third led to their first lead of the game. Foster was covered by a Dino defender, but skillfully got the puck across to Levko Koper who made no mistake, netting his sixth of the season.
However, Alberta’s lead didn’t last long. Less than a minute later, Dinos forward Adam Kambeitz responded with a wicked shot that fooled Siemens for his fifth of the season to tie the game at 3–3.
With less than six minutes left in the game, Alberta regained the lead with an unusual goal. Taking the puck from Koper behind the net, Foster’s shot from the side somehow sneaked through a hole on Lazaruk. The game-winning goal was Foster’s 14th of the season.
“We have lost three in a row now. It is a huge wakeup call that we are in a dog fight for second place,” Howell said.
The Dinos fall to third place behind the Mount Royal Cougars, with a record of 13–7–0 to start the second half of the season. They travel to Saskatoon on Jan. 9–10 for a pair of games against the Saskatchewan Huskies.