The University of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team came out of the holiday break with a two game sweep over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, extending their winning streak to five — tying the longest winning streak they had last season.
The Dinos currently sit in fourth place in Canada West with an 11–7 overall record. However, their record is not an accurate reflection of the team’s potential, as most of their losses have come by just two goals or fewer. As a result, they are posting an immaculate goal differential in CW with a +25, which is good enough for third best goal differential in the country.
Despite losing both meetings with the University of Alberta Golden Bears this season, the Dinos have either swept or split games with every opponent they’ve faced — the Dinos have a legitimate shot at being one of the top teams in the CW. Currently, the Dinos are only one point behind the third-place University of Manitoba Bisons.
Much of the Dinos’s success can be attributed to the offensive production of forwards Brock Nixon and Tyler Fiddler. Nixon leads the team with 21 points and a +18 rating, while Fiddler leads the team in goals with 10. The Dinos defence has also been solid, only allowing 2.33 goals per game in the first half of the season.
The Dinos have clearly shown that they can compete with each team in the CW. However, in order for the Dinos to make a run at a CW banner, they will need to find ways of earning at least one victory in back-to-back games against the first-place Golden Bears and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in order to attain home ice advantage in the playoffs. The Dinos had the exact same record of 9–7 going into the break last year, eventually finishing in fourth place with 15 total wins. The team will likely need to win six or seven of their remaining 10 games in order to secure at least third in the CW if they hope to improve on last year’s regular season results.
If the Dinos are to improve on last year and compete for a CW banner, reducing the reccurring pattern of alternating wins and losses will be vital.
On five different occasions this season, the Dinos have followed impressive victories with disappointing losses, ultimately preventing them from moving up in the standings. Showing up to each game with the same intensity as the last will be fundamental to capture the top spot in the CW.
There are a few questions surrounding this team. Perhaps the most important question is whether or not the Dinos have improved enough from last year to be considered a serious contender.
However, the men’s hockey team should not be underestimated. When the offence is producing, the Dinos are tough to stop and should be able to give any team a run for their money come playoff time. The Dinos are hosting the University of Regina Rams on Jan. 11 and 12 as they try and gain some ground and extend their impressive winning streak.