By Tommy Osborne, January 10 2016 —
The start of the 2016–17 season reminded us why the Dinos athletics program is one of the best in Canada. With the football team playing in the Vanier Cup, the cross country team winning a national gold medal, the women’s rugby team earning a national bronze and women’s soccer team competing in the Canada West playoffs, a series of successes rounded off the new year for most teams. With the season halfway done, the Gauntlet put together our top picks of Dinos teams to watch this semester.
The Dinos men’s basketball team had a great start to to the season, going an impressive 17–5. The Dinos have gone 8–2 in the Canada West conference and sit in third place. The Dinos star fifth-year point guard Thomas Cooper leads the Dinos with an average 24.3 points per game, which is also the second highest total in the Canada West.
The Dinos started 2017 by exchanging wins with the current Canada West powerhouses the University of Alberta Golden Bears. They look to build on their dominant first half of the season against opponents including the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Regina Cougars and Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. With playoffs looming in February, the Dinos will hope to repeat last year’s championship run.
The women’s basketball team has shown potential to be a force in the Canada West, but they have struggled with consistency. So far their season is a story of impressive winning streaks, followed by a series of tough losses. While they ended 2016 on a three-game losing streak, they had a prior four-game winning streak. In the second half of the season, the team will look to build upon their 14–8 record. They have a 7–3 record in the Canada West division, putting them in a tie for fourth with the University of Fraser Valley Cascades. They started 2017 by losing their first game to the first-place U of A Pandas, but they followed that loss by handing the Pandas their first loss of the season. The team has a chance to move up the standings as the rest of their schedule consists of only Canada West opponents.
The men’s hockey team has had a strong start to the season, posting a
15–6–3 record. They have gone 12–5–1 in the Canada West, placing them firmly in second place — only one spot behind the U of S Huskies. Fourth-year forward Pierce Elgin leads the team with 19 points off of 11 goals and eight assists.
The rest of the season will be significant for the Dinos, as they will face the U of S Huskies, U of A Golden Bears and the University of Manitoba Bisons — all of which are in the Canada West. Following those games, the Dinos will face the Mount Royal Cougars in the 2017 Crowchild Classic.
The women’s hockey team had a rough start to their season, going 5–13–3. Their conference record in 2–13–3, putting them in last place in the Canada West. Despite this, there is still optimism in their locker room. In seven of their games, they held a lead into the third period, but couldn’t come away with a victory. Head coach Danielle Goyette believes that the team is good but they have to learn how to close out games.
Last season, the Dinos were in a similar position heading into the Crowchild Classic, but ultimately went 9–3 in the last half in a clutch effort to secure a playoff position. This season they will try to recapture that magic. They started 2017 by splitting games with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns
The men’s volleyball team started their season 13–9, but a 5–7 record within the Canada West has hurt their playoff hopes and put them in eighth place out of 13 teams. However, the team has 14 games left against Canada West opponents to recover from their early deficit.
The Dinos started the new year strong, defeating the TRU Wolfpack and moving ahead of them in the standings from 10th place to eighth. They will also play the U of M Bisons and U of A Golden Bears ranked second and third respectively. If the Dinos want to return to the playoffs, they will have to return to their dominant form from last year to make a push for the postseason.
The women’s volleyball team has posted an impressive 13–5 record so far and are also 9–3 within the Canada West, putting them in a tie for third place with University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat.
The Dinos started 2017 by splitting their games with the TRU Wolfpack. They should find themselves comfortably making the postseason this year, as they have been dominant in all aspects of the game. Fourth-year middle Jaylynn Moffatt is currently tied for the lead in Canada West in blocks per game, with 1.40.