With a playoff berth a long-shot at best, the University of Calgary Dinos entered play last weekend with a mission. Needing to pick up as many points as possible against tough provincial rival the University of Lethbridge was their goal.
The men's soccersaurs entered Saturday's game with a mark of 1-4-1, a record leaving them in last place in the highly competitive Canada West. Above them, the U of L Pronghorns were looking to continue their strong season and come one step closer to reaching the playoffs for the first time in several years. With both teams both desperately searching for a sweep of the weekend series, it looked as though both games would be hard fought and very entertaining.
Saturday's game in Lethbridge saw early domination of the ball by the Dinos, but Lethbridge's defence held well and offered little in the way of quality scoring chances. The Pronghorns were able to weather the storm and even managed to strike first on captain Ryan Conn's header past U of C 'keeper J.P. Crescenzi. The Dinos lay dormant for much of the rest of the first half, until a late flurry saw Dino David Bird head a corner just over the crossbar.
The second half saw the Dinos tie the game up in the 51st minute, as Jeremy Jenkyns made no mistake putting a rebound away past the down and out 'Horns 'keeper, Marcel Galaskiewicz.
The game continued on with good pace until tragedy befell the Dinos as 'Horns striker Jaycee Neufeld rocked a shot into the upper left corner. With just over five minutes remaining in the game desperation set in for the dinosaur soccer squad, but there was not enough time left to crack the Lethbridge defence. The U of C was forced to head home for the second game of the series with a record of 1-5-1.
The second game of the weekend echoed the goings on of Saturday's game but with the roles reversed. The soccersaurs found themselves on their heels early and often to begin the game with the Pronghorns controlling midfield and making several forays into the goal area due to to the strong play of Lethbridge's Jaycee Neufeld and Dylan Tooby. Much like U of L the afternoon before, Calgary did not break and led tremendous defensive efforts like those of Matthew Deeprose, who broke up several Lethbridge chances and played well all afternoon.
The first half came to a close with a score of nil-nil and with the Dinos desperately needing to dig deep and play better in the second half. While they were outplayed again in the opening minutes of the second stanza, they were again aided by the strong defensive presence of Dino Deeprose and the overall team beginning to tighten up and play better offensively.
In the 69th minute, Ryan Swain, fresh off the bench, received a beautiful pass from Ryan Holbrook and buried it into the net over 'Horns' goalkeeper Marcel Galaskiewicz following a scramble in the penalty area. From there on Calgary played extremely responsible defensive game and only allowed a few more chances by Lethbridge, most notably by Pronghorn Dylan Tooby who made a fantastic move in close but launched the shot just over the bar. The score settled 1-0 for the prehistoric home side, improving Calgary's record to 2-5-1.