The Dinos men’s hockey team finished the second week of the season with an exclamation point, beating the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in a 9–5 offensive outburst on Saturday Oct. 12 at Father David Bauer Arena. With the victory, the Dinos improved to 4–0 in regular season play.
First-year forward Chris Collins led the Dinos with a five-point night, racking up three goals and two assists. Collins — who scored 72 points for the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League last year, and previously played 198 games in the Western Hockey League — was pleased with his team’s performance, but was quick to acknowledge that the team has much to improve on this year.
“It’s nice to get nine goals in any game, but when you get five against it’s not a good thing,” said Collins, who hopes to work on his defensive zone coverage and faceoff abilities this season. “There are a lot of positives we can take away from this game and a lot of things we can learn from defensively too.”
The nine goals came in only 40 minutes of play, as the Dinos were shut out in the first period and found themselves trailing the Thunderbirds by a score of 2–0 due to a pair of giveaways in the defensive zone. Despite falling behind early, Dinos head coach Mark Howell was pleased with his team’s play in the first period.
“Ironically I didn’t mind our first, other than a couple giveaways that ended up in goals against,” said Howell “I liked our response in the second. We came out quick with good purpose and finally stayed with it, and found a way to score.”
The Dinos made quick work of the Thunderbirds in the second period. By the mid-point of the second period, Collins had already notched his hat trick, erasing the two-goal deficit. Spencer Edwards, Ryan Harrison and Max Ross also added goals to increase the second period goal total to six for the Dinos.
The third period did not go as smoothly for the Dinos — sloppy defensive play allowed the Thunderbirds to get within two before the scoreboard spiraled up to a 9–5 final. Although his team was able to hold off the Thunderbirds, their third-period performance left Howell disappointed.
“The third period didn’t like us at all,” said Howell. “We didn’t follow the direction we wanted in the third, to play simple and smart. I thought we just kind of left our goaltender out to dry.”
Despite the final score, the Dinos didn’t turn in an ideal performance from Howell’s persepective.
“Guys have to care about the right things, and I thought we didn’t care about our end enough in the third,” Howell continued. “It’s one of those games, once it kind of gets going like that you just want it to end.”
Defensive lapses aside, the Dinos displayed flashes of dominance throughout the game. Collins’s five points were the highlight, and the forward could have easily extended his goal total to four or five, as he had several other great scoring chances after he helped chase Thunderbirds goaltender Matt Hewitt from the net midway through the game.
“If he plays like he did tonight, where he’s quick, he’s intense, he’s stopping on pucks, he’s competing, he’s going to be really good,” said Howell, “It’s just going to be a matter of consistency. If he can find that consistency he’s going to be a real good player in our league.”
Harrison, Adam Kambeitz and Taylor Stefishen all had four-point games for the Dinos. Goaltender Jacob Serres made 24 saves.
The Dinos hope to continue their winning ways this weekend during a home-and-home series with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. They play in Lethbridge on Friday Oct. 18 and return to Father David Bauer Arena on Saturday Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. Admission is free for students with a valid UCID.