If you're a hockey fanatic, you probably planted your ass on your couch all Christmas break for the World Junior Hockey Championships. It was eventful; Canada won a second straight gold medal despite being underdogs and die-hard fans were left wondering how, in Division III, the Armenian goalie managed to make 83 saves on 133 shots for a 50-0 loss against Iceland. Although Iceland had a goalie in net, they would've won the game without him as Armenia only got 10 shots on goal.
Meanwhile, the Dinos men's hockey team didn't have much of a break. To make the most of 2005, they travelled to Thunder Bay to participate in an annual tournament hosted by Lakehead University. They returned home to kick off the New Year hosting the University of Alberta Golden Bears. After capping off the year with a nice team effort in Thunder Bay, the Dinos skated head first into a brick wall against the Bears at the Father David Bauer Arena.
After narrowly losing the first game of the Lakehead tournament in overtime against the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men, the Dinos out-scored Lakehead Superior State and Lakehead University to secure a spot in the finals, just like they did for the two previous years. However, unlike those outings, the Dinos got their revenge, beating the X-Men 5-2 in the finals, finally capturing the TBay Tel Varsity Cup for the first time in three attempts.
Dinos goaltender Scott Talbot was named first star in the finals for making fantastic saves while sniper Jarret Lukin grabbed the tournament's most valuable player honour. Four Dino players--Talbot, defenseman Drew Campbell and forwards Colin McRae and Ryan Annesley--were named to the all-tournament team.
More importantly, it looked like the Dinos had gained some momentum, which they hoped to carry over to the new year.
The regular season resumed Jan. 6-7 with the Bears visiting Calgary. The Dinos looked like an entirely different team right off the start. They allowed two goals on four shots during the first six minutes of the game, including one scored just 56 seconds in. The period ended with a 2-1 deficit after Alex Lalonde pulled the Dinos within a goal on a short-handed opportunity.
The Bears continued to utilize their offensive firepower in the second period, out-shooting the Dinos 13-8. They added one to their lead by the end of the period.
The Dinos regrouped during the intermission and managed to get 14 shots on goal in the third. Unfortunately, Bears goaltender Aaron Sorochan stood on his head and allowed just one goal. The Bears put the game away when Brad Tutschek scored his second of the game to make the final score 4-2.
In the second of the two-game series, the Dinos dug themselves a hole early. Careless penalties led to two Alberta powerplay goals while a frustrated Dinos captain, Brett Thurston, received a game misconduct in the first period after being called for checking from behind. The Dinos trailed 3-0 in the second and never recovered. Wes Reid's goal in the third came too late and the game ended 3-1 for the Bears.
The Dinos are now on a three-game losing streak in regular season play as their record drops to 7-9-2. They haven't been ranked in the national top 10 since the week of Nov. 15, although they are still second behind the Bears in a relatively weak division.
The Dinos will try to avoid extending their streak Jan. 13-15 when they travel to the University of Saskatchewan to face the Huskies. This task will be tough as their record against the Huskies thus far is 0-2.