By Emilie Medland-Marchen, February 3 2017 —
The Dinos women’s hockey team opened the fifth annual Crowchild Classic with a heartbreaking loss to the Mount Royal University Cougars at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Feb. 2.
Despite scoring one goal in the third period, the Dinos couldn’t catch up to MRU’s early lead. After solidifying a 3–1 score over the Dinos in the third, the Cougars maintained their dominance throughout the period and took home the win.
“We did this to ourselves,” Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette said. “We can’t have any excuse for why this happened. We only have reasons for why we need to work harder and get better. When we think that people come to the rink and they get their first impression of that is how this team plays — it’s not a good souvenir. We need to take responsibility to show up every game.”
The Dinos got off to a bumpy start in the first period when some risky handling and poor passing on the Dinos’ side led to two MRU goals. First-year goalie Kelsey Roberts — who shined in net throughout the second and third periods — took some time to find her rhythm, letting in a goal from MRU forward Nicolette Seper at 6:20. MRU followed up with a power play goal at the end of the period after fifth-year Dinos forward Heather Berzins was sent to the penalty box for bodychecking.
“I think the nerves got to us in the first period,” fourth-year Dinos forward Kate Lumley said. “We kind of lost that and came out a little bit flat. Overall it didn’t come together
It was MRU’s game heading into the second frame. Calgary responded by ramping up their defence, but also earned three trips to the penalty box. Despite the power play opportunities for MRU, the Cougars couldn’t add to their lead and left the ice at the end of the period with a 2–0 score.
The Dinos finally found their stride, scoring their first goal of the night just 30 seconds into the third period. Lumley leapt at the breakaway opportunity after the puck dropped, skating up open ice and passing to wide-open third-year forward Cheyann Newman. Newman buried the puck with a snappy wrister to shrink the Cougars’ lead.
But MRU followed up with some moves of their own. Heavy traffic around the Dinos’ net couldn’t stop fourth-year Rachel Piitz’s wraparound shot from sneaking past Roberts and bringing MRU up 3–1. The Dinos pulled their goalie with two minutes left in the third — but despite six players on the ice, the Dinos women still couldn’t capitalize.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Dinos women’s hockey team, who missed out on their last chance to make the Canada West playoffs the previous weekend. Goyette says her team is facing a challenge of character.
“I know the girls were nervous, but that’s not an excuse to lose a game,” Goyette said. “We lost the game because I don’t think we were well-prepared enough with what we needed to do. But you know what — at the end of the day, we have to show character. I know we didn’t make the playoffs, but tomorrow we have to come back and show what we didn’t put out there tonight.”
There were still some strong performances put forth by the Dinos this year. Roberts has had an outstanding rookie season with a high average save percentage of .905 — making 427 saves with just 45 goals against this season. The Kitimat, B.C native also played an excellent game at the Crowchild Classic. Despite letting in two goals in the first period, she came back in the second and third to make a total 25 saves.
But the moment of the game went to veterans Lumley and Newman with the third-period breakaway opportunity that led to the Dinos’ only goal.
“I got the puck, drove down the wall and took to the net,” Lumley said. “Cheyann buried the rebound. It’s good for Chey to go right to the net, that’s what we want.”
Another highlight of Lumley’s play came in the second period, when she skated for the puck in a wide-open breakaway. While she fell short in her attempts to deke out MRU’s goalie, the opportunity could have resulted in a completely different game.
Goyette said she is disappointed in the game and the team’s low position in the Canada West this season. She hopes that by focusing on character, the Dinos women can make a major comeback next year.
“I hope we are disappointed, because this cannot happen again tomorrow night,” Goyette said. “You have the opportunity to play in the Saddledome and it’s a great opportunity. But you can’t play for just the last forty minutes and not show up at the beginning. I just want the team to reflect on what can make them better.”
The Dinos came back strong in a 2–0 rematch against MRU on Feb. 3 at the Father David Baeur Arena. Rookie forward Rachel Paul scored both goals of the night, bringing the Dinos’ seasonal record to 7–19–3.