Friday, 23 February 2018

Dinos bite back to force Game 3 with Huskies

Adam Kambeitz (#9) celebrates scoring the winning goal for the Dinos.
    For much of Friday night, the University of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team mimicked the NHL’s New Jersey Devils during the era when the Devils won Stanley Cups.
    Needing a win to stay alive in a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series against the host University of Saskatchewan Huskies at the ancient Rutherford Rink, the Dinos clutch, grabbed, held and trapped their opponents. The tactics worked as the Dinos grinded out a 2-1 victory to even the series up at 1-1.
    A series deciding Game 3 will be held between the two sides on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Rutherford Rink.
Netminder Jordan Papirny makes one of his 27 saves on Friday.
    In order to survive Friday’s elimination game, the Dinos, who are rated 10th in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, elected to start rookie Jordan Papirny in goal in place of sophomore Matthew Greenfield. Papirny comes to the Dinos as no ordinary rookie carrying a pedigree from his WHL days as being a money goalie come playoff time.
    The Edmonton, Alta., product won nine playoffs series during his time in the major junior ranks, backstopped the Brandon Wheat Kings to an appearance in the WHL championship series in 2015 and to a WHL title in 2016. As an overager last season, Papirny almost powered the Swift Current Broncos to a surprising second round upset of the Regina Pats forcing the Pats to rally from a 3-1 series deficit to take the set in a deciding Game 7.
Dinos LW Ryan Graham (#23) ties up Huskies D Tanner Lishchynsky.
    Papirny’s calm was evident in the Dinos goal, and he was solid making 27 saves. While Papirny did his part, the skaters in front of him ensured the netminder had to just be solid and not spectacular to get the win.
    The Dinos started out grinding down the contest in the opening 20 minutes holding a slim 7-6 edge in shots on goal. In that frame, they utilized a lot of clutching, grabbing and tight checking tactics to prevent the Huskies from getting up ice with speed. The first period was full of little one-on-one hand fighting matches between the two sides.
    With 46 seconds to play in the first period, Dinos fifth-year centre Chris Collins circled around from behind the Huskies net and roofed a shot to the top left corner of the U of S goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Huskies D Jordan Fransoo (#6) battles Dinos D Dylan Busenius for the puck.
    In the second period, it appeared the Huskies, who are rated fifth in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, were going to take over the game. Just 13 seconds into the frame, left-winger Alex Forsberg ripped a shot off the post of the U of C goal.
    From that point, the Huskies were constantly in the Dinos zone during the second period holding a 14-4 edge in shots on goal. At the 6:37 mark of the frame, third-year right-winger Levi Cable knocked home a gritty power-play goal from in front of the Dinos net to tie things up at 1-1.
    After Cable scored, Papirny ensured the Huskies weren’t able to jump ahead. Late in the frame, he made a huge glove stop to deny Huskies centre Jordan Tkatch on a breakaway. The save on Tkatch came during a period of time when the Huskies were coming at the Dinos in waves.
Netminder Taran Kozun stops a high shot for the Huskies.
    In the third, the Dinos gained the upper hand by playing the trap for most of the frame. They were able to get the puck deep in the Huskies zone, sent in one forechecker and had their other four skaters clog up all the space in the centre ice zone.
    The visitors broke through with the winning goal to go up 2-1 at the 7:53 mark of the third, when fifth-year centre Adam Kambeitz scored after getting about two or three whacks at the puck in front of Huskies netminder Taran Kozun.
    Following Kambeitz’s goal, the Huskies appeared to be fighting to get out of quicksand, when they attempted to work their way up ice. The hosts turned the puck over a number of times in the third allowing the Dinos to hold a 12-8 edge in shots on goal.
    The Huskies had a chance to regroup with an extended 16-minute timeout to replace a broken pane of glass in the Dinos end with 3:23 remaining in the third. The pane of glass broke when Huskies captain Kendall McFaull missed a hit and his elbow shattered it.
Levi Cable scored a power-play goal for the Huskies.
    When play resumed, the Dinos continued to successfully muddy of the centre ice zone to prevent the Huskies from getting the equalizer.
    Kozun had a solid outing making 21 saves to take the setback in goal for the Huskies. The Nipawin, Sask., product played admirably in place of injured starter Jordon Cooke.
    Cooke went down in the first period of the Huskies 6-4 win over the Dinos in Game 1 on Thursday when he was hit by a scrum of players. He is on crutches forcing the Huskies to dress U of S student Brett Lewchuk of the Kenaston Blizzard of the Sask Valley Hockey League as the backup goalie. The Sask Valley Hockey League is a rural senior league.
The Dinos celebrate their Game 2 win over the Huskies.
    In the end, goaltending didn’t make the different in Friday’s encounter. The Dinos won, because they did a better job of executing their overall team game plan.
    The best part of the Canada West Conference in U Sports men’s hockey is all the teams are mostly made up of standout former WHLers as well as stars from the junior A ranks. These players are good at making adjustments, so there is never a certainly a result will repeat on a following night.
    In a series deciding Game 3, the deciding factor will likely hinge on who wants the game more.

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