Sonny Sachdeva, September 18 2014 —
Despite strong defensive play, the University of Calgary Dinos came up short against the Calgary Flames rookie squad on Wednesday, Sept. 17, losing 3–1 in front of the 1,768 fans at Father David Bauer Arena.
The game was close from start to finish with the momentum shifting between both teams. Despite the final score, the Dinos proved they can hang with the big boys by controlling much of the game.
The Dinos put their defensive skill on display as the opening period went scoreless. Their strong defense aided goaltender Kris Lazaruk, who was named first star of the game.
Flames prospect Austin Carroll broke the deadlock near the start of the second period. He tucked one past Dinos goaltender Jacob DeSerres, last season’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport goaltender of the year, after he replaced Lazaruk.
New Dinos forward Cain Franson shined with his formidable defensive skill — picking off Flames passes and blocking shots from the point — and driving offense.
Franson’s moment came in the second period. He raced down the wing before faking a shot and whipping a pass through the slot to Colton Grant. Grant finished beautifully on the one-timer to tie the game at 1–1. Chris Collins, who was the 2013–2014 Canada West rookie of the year, added the other helper on the play.
Returning forward Elgin Pearce had one of the game’s prettier plays. Halfway through the second period, Pearce toe dragged around a diving Flames defender while driving towards the goalie. He knocked the net off its moorings after being tripped, drawing a penalty for the man-advantage.
Though they weren’t able to capitalize on the power play, the Dinos put together a thrilling effort. They hemmed the Flames in their own end, showcasing their great chemistry while landing some dangerous shots on Flames goaltender Doug Carr.
The Dinos didn’t fare well in the third period. Hulking German forward David Wolf slipped a lucky one through DeSerres’ pads to give the Flames the early lead. Later, defenceman Curtis Gedig put the nail in the Dinos’ coffin with a nice move around DeSerres near the end of the third, bringing the score to 3-1 for the Flames.
The scored remained 3–1 at the final buzzer.
Though they didn’t leave with a win, the Dinos were positive about the exhibition tilt.
“We demonstrated that we can play with big, strong, skilled players”, said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “We just made some mistakes that cost us.”
The Dinos sent a message to the rest of the CIS with their unending tenacity.
“We knew coming in tonight that [the Flames] would have a pretty good squad over there and we were going need our best effort to give ourselves a chance,” said Dinos forward Cain Franson, who was named the second star of the game. “And I thought for the most part we gave ourselves a good chance.”
As for the benefits of playing talented Flames rookies, Franson described the game as a measuring stick.
“I see it as a huge opportunity,” Franson said. “You get to see where you stand and where you match up against other guys in your age group that are in the NHL.”
Veteran Colton Grant, who scored the Dinos only goal, said the experience will go a long way during their season.
“Just getting ourselves into that pace so we can bring that into our regular season will be huge,” Grant said. “If we can play with this pace throughout our regular season, I think we’re going to jump on teams early and hopefully get some wins off of that.”
The Dinos regular season begins Friday, Sept. 26, against the University of Manitoba Bisons at Father David Bauer Arena.