There comes a time during the year when the adrenalin really starts flowing, the rage inside increases and players realize that if they screw up, it's over-- the playoffs.
The University of Calgary women's hockey team won the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference semi-final playoff series 2-0 against the Grant MacEwan College Griffins last weekend. Game one of the series went to the Dinos 1-0 and the Dinos won game two 3-2.
The first game of the series was dominated by Calgary, who outshot the Griffins 28-9.
"I think it's the first time in a while that we've really come together as a team," said veteran forward Cait O'Hara.
After nothing of interest happened in the first period, the Dinos established their dominance in the second.
Seven minutes in, Dinos forward Elana Lovell stickhandled into the Griffin zone, but the puck was poke-checked away from her. Tiara Schoenroth gathered the loose puck and flicked a quick pass to forward Shelby Davey, who one-timed it in for the opening goal of the game.
"E [Lovell] tried to do a little dangle thingla-ma-jig,," said Schoenroth. "It dribbled back and I saw Shelby right away, and-- la-bamsha-- on to her stick and in."
The third period was not filled with goals, but there were two massive hits, resulting in the players asking for the licence plates of the trucks that ran them over.
With the puck in front of the player benches, Dinos forward Tanya Morgan slammed Griffins forward Jenna Reichert into the boards. Morgan was assessed a boarding penalty and Reichert was extremely slow to get up.
"The one [hit] by Morgan, the girl just turned and it was basically bad luck," said forward Ali Webb. "It was too bad she had to get kicked out for it."
The Griffins exacted revenge and took down Schoenroth. Schoenroth was alone on a breakaway, and just as she was about to shoot, was hit from behind, sending her crashing headfirst into the boards.
"T [Schoenroth] had a straight breakaway," said O'Hara. "The girl tackled her from behind, straight-up owned her."
The Dinos travelled to Edmonton Saturday for game two looking to close out the series.
The Dinos jumped out to the early 2-0 lead, before letting the Griffins back in the game.
"They got a goal, and then we got a power play [and] one of our shots got blocked at the point, and we couldn't catch up to them," said Lovell. "I think our closest player was at the red line, and they scored."
All season long, when these two teams played each other, the games were decided by one goal.
"We knew it was going to come down to the next person that scored was going to win," said Lovell. "Luckily we got the next goal and we just kept it."
The Dinos will play the Mount Royal Cougars, who defeated the SAIT Trojans in the other semi-final.
"You can't look back and say, 'Oh, Mount Royal finished last, we finished first, we got this down pat,' " said O'Hara. "Everyone changes in playoffs and it's a new team, it's a new league, a new season basically."