The Dinos men's hockey team opened their 04-05 season Oct. 15-16 with back to back ties against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Not a great start to the season, but not too shabby either. In both games, the Dinos had to battle back from two-goal deficits, showing their extraordinary resilience in being able to scrape a point out of both games.
The Dinos opened the scoring on Friday, with Craig Strain getting the first goal of the new season, assisted by Adam Loncan and Travis George. Unfortunately, UBC responded with three straight tallies, putting our team into a hole by the midway point of the game. However, the Dinos responded before the second period expired, with Colin McRae netting his first of the year, from Shawn Landry and Wesley Reid.
As the third period wound down, it seemed as though the Dinos would walk away from this game empty-handed, until the referee awarded Ryan Annesley with a penalty shot in the final minute. The forward made the most of the opportunity, evening the score at three apiece. Overtime decided nothing, and the teams had to wait until the following evening to get another crack at victory.
Saturday night, the Dinos once again struck first, as captain Bracken Kearns buried the puck at the 3:08 mark of the second period.
Reminiscent of the game the night before, the T-Birds stormed back with three goals. The Dinos once more found themselves trailing by two, and for the first five minutes of the third period battled hard to narrow the margin to one. Finally Loncan accomplished the task, assisted by Annesley and Ryley Layden.
This time, the Dinos did not leave their fans hanging until the final minute before equalizing. Less than eight minutes after Loncan put his team back in the game, Reid got the puck past UBC goaltender Chris Levesque and the T-Birds blew their second two-goal lead in as many nights.
Goalie Scott Talbot came up big for our boys and shut the door when he needed to, keeping the T-Birds at bay to preserve the tie.
Though the Dinos had hoped for a better start to the season, their never-say-die determination will be essential during the rest of the year.
The Dinos will square off against the University of Lethbridge in a home game this weekend, where they will play at Father David Bauer Arena on Sat., Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.