By Kristy Koehler, January 30 2019 —
(With files from David Song)
The Dinos women’s hockey team emerged victorious from the seventh instalment of the Crowchild Classic at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Jan. 29. The annual hockey game between the University of Calgary Dinos and the Mount Royal University Cougars holds the attendance record for any U Sports team matchup. The rivalry between the two universities always makes for exciting hockey and this year’s Crosstown Smackdown did not disappoint.
The Dinos got off to a slow start, with MRU dominating the ice for the first period. Superb netminding by both sides held the game scoreless for the full 15 minutes. A glove save by Dinos starting goaltender Kelsey Roberts robbed Cougars forward Tianna Ko of a breakaway goal. The Cougars outshot the Dinos 10–5 in the first period and Roberts stopped eight of those shots in just the first 10 minutes to keep the game scoreless.
Halfway through the second period, both teams found their rhythm on the Dome’s unfamiliar ice. The stands started to fill, energizing the players. Dinos forward Rachel Paul found herself on a breakaway but was pulled down from behind by Cougars’ defender Tori Williams. Paul was awarded a penalty shot but sent the puck over the net. She quickly redeemed herself by scoring the first goal of the game with a top shelf shot with four minutes to play in the second. Assisted by Sage Desjardins, Paul’s goal cemented her place as the Dinos’ leading goal-scorer this season.
“Sage [Desjardins] gave me an awesome feed right off the faceoff and drove the net hard, which opened up a lot of space for me,” said Paul of her goal. “I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to pass it or shoot it, but then the goalie cheated to the pass so I just shot it and hoped for the best.”
Twenty-eight seconds into the third period, MRU’s Anna Purschke tied up the game. The Dinos answered at 2:22 when Taylor Beck scored her first goal as a Dino. Assisted by Dana Wood, Beck’s rally restored the U of C’s one-goal lead.
Both the Dinos and the Cougars were adept on the penalty kill as a total of five penalties yielded no results. Despite the win, the Dinos were outplayed. The Cougars dominated the game, outskating the Dinos and outshooting them 27–15.
“It’s a disappointing season for us but again, we keep fighting,” said Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette. “Every time we play the Crowchild Classic, it’s something so special for the players. To win here is good motivation for [them] to keep working hard. We had so many players playing here for the first time and nerves were pretty high tonight.”
Roberts led the Dinos to the win as the onslaught of Cougar shots were simply no match for her goaltending skills. For her efforts, she was awarded the first star of the game. Purschke and Beck picked up the second and third stars respectively.
“We have to give credit to our goalie. It could have been way more than 1–0 for us, first of all,” said Goyette.
This was the Dinos’ second consecutive Crowchild Classic win. They have a hard road to the playoffs with a 5–18–1 record in conference play so far this year. The Dinos face off against another Cougars team — the University of Regina Cougars — Feb. 1 and 2 at the Co-Operators Centre in Regina.