Their situation has yet to become critical--however, if things don't change immediately the once tenth-ranked U of C men's hockey team could see their season end abruptly. Going into last weekend's action, not only were the Dinos unable to register a win, but they remained pointless in the second half of this season. With this in mind they hosted the University of Saskatchewan Huskies last weekend at Father David Bauer Arena.
Friday night, the Dinos chased the visitors all game. Saskatchewan did not necessarily dominate the game; nevertheless, they were able to capitalize on chances when they arose. Every time the Dinos pulled within one, the U of S reciprocated with a goal of their own. Ultimately, the Huskies won the game 7-4.
The following evening, fans saw a much stronger and more determined Dinos squad. Yet despite a late third-period lead, the hosts were unable to hold on for the win. In the dying seconds of the third, the Huskies tied it up, and to add further insult to injury, they were able to get the win in overtime. As a result, the U of C remains winless in the new year with a disappointing record of 7-11-2.
There's no doubt by now both the players and the coaching staff realize they are in a very serious slump. With only a handful of games left before the playoffs, it's imperative the Dinos start winning or there'll be nothing left but papers and exams for the rest of the semester.
"I thought the effort was there last weekend, and I thought we outplayed them," captain Judd Casper remarked about this current losing skid. "We're still are having too many breakdowns to win."
Maybe the only bright spot for the Dinos is that second-place University of Lethbridge is suffering from the same late-season slump; they too remain winless in 2001. However, the Pronghorns do have a three-point lead on the Dinos and do not have the UBC close on their flank.
"We have to treat this weekend as a playoff weekend," said Casper. "We're within striking distance now, and its gonna be a dogfight."
Goaltender Scott Rideout has a different philosophy for how his team can experience success.
"What we have to do now is put the last 20 games behind us and get back to the basics," he said. "Then we'll start to win."
The U of C now travels to Vancouver to battle the last-place Thunderbirds. They will be back at home in early February to face the University of Manitoba.