Exiting the weekend with only one out of a possible four points in their series with the University of Alberta Golden Bears, the Dinos men's hockey team left the weekend with some much needed confidence. This occurred, even though the Dinos couldn't turn their good play into wins. They tied Friday night's game here in Calgary, 4-4, and lost Saturday in Edmonton, 3-0.
"We took it as a positive weekend," said fourth-year Management student and recent Dino returnee Trevor Murray. "We were just not getting the breaks, a few bounces here and there and we're looking at wins in both of those games."
Head coach Tim Bothwell was relatively pleased with the team's effort as well.
"We played well both nights, we played a little better defensively Friday," said Bothwell. "We could easily have won Friday, and were definitely in a position to win
Saturday, that's a pretty important thing to establish."
Scott Rideout emerged to lead the Calgary defense in some spectacular goaltending. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to propel the team to a win.
"Rideout was very good on Friday night and outstanding on Saturday night," said Bothwell. "[He had] the best two-game performance by any of the goalies this year, or even last year. It's nice to see him step up at a critical time of the year."
"Basically we had a lot of guys who are injured, a lot of guys who were sick," said Murray. "We were undermanned in both games."
With perennially injured Ron Grimard and Sheldon Nedjelski out with a charley horse and shoulder injury respectively, the Dinos showed some poise without their top scorer and a key defenseman.
Friday night's game remained close throughout. In the dying minutes of the game, Murray had a goal called back as it appeared the puck was gloved in. Murray commented that he did hit the puck in with his stick, not his glove.
"I definitely knew that I shot it in. I definitely knew that it wasn't a gloved puck," remarked Murray.
"Going over the replay on the video, the ref was on the hash marks. Both linesmen who made the final call were outside the blue line." Not exactly a prime location for goal-judging.
Bothwell had a different perspective.
"They saw him glove it, and they have to call it no-goal. It's too bad, but that's the way it goes," he said. "I felt everyone played a strong game Friday night, the energy level was very good, we forced the play and created a lot of turnovers. We generated some really good legitimate scoring chances for ourselves."
The game could have gone either way, and by salvaging a point on Friday, the Dinos proved to themselves they can play at the same level as the Golden Bears. Bothwell was impressed with the defensive play the first night, but felt that it wasn't up to par in Edmonton.
"We played pretty well again, you know, it was 1-0 after two periods," commented Bothwell. "The physical effort was pretty good from most of the guys, defensively [however, we were] not quite as good."
Saturday night's final score betrayed the fact that the game was close, at least for two periods. Being close for the first two, the third was a period of consolidation for the Bears, scoring twice more on the way to Clayton Pool's second shutout in the U of A goal. The physical play of the night before continued for the Dinos in the packed Clare Drake Arena.
"The atmosphere [in Edmonton] was really good, high energy." said Murray. "It's a smaller rink out there, so you're closer to the opposition all the time, so there definitely was a lot of body contact and a lot of aggressive hockey."
The Dinos were, however, unable to get the scoring touch they needed, and couldn't even the score.
"We had a lot of chances in the Saturday night game, but we just couldn't put the puck in the net for whatever reason." Said Murray. "By no means are we happy with results, but we definitely had some positives out of the weekend."
Despite the minor shortcomings, the Dinos will hopefully be able to carry their confidence. and positive attitude over to this weekend as they play the last place Regina Cougars.
"We can't take them lightly, them being the last place team in the league," said Murray. "We're not going to be playing at home, we're going to be kind of on the road as well." The Dinos will be playing their first game in Strathmore on Friday and in Okotoks on Saturday. The Cougars have a whopping 122 goals against for the year thus far. The next closest team, Brandon, has 89.
"Basically our game plan is to go in and work hard. When we work hard good things usually happen for us," said Murray.