Saskatoon (ISN) – Never doing things the easy way, the University of Calgary Dinos went into overtime to defeat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 2-1 in Game 1 of the best-of-three Canada West Men’s Hockey Finals at the Rutherford Rink.
The Dinos found themselves consistently playing down a man throughout the game, and even with being heavily outshot were able to pick up the win with a goal from defenceman Luke Egener in the fourth period.
“I didn’t think that was our best effort tonight,” said Calgary head coach Mark Howell “we got to play sharper and more determined, I thought we did that in overtime and were playing on our toes and creating offence.
A crash and bang first period saw the Huskies out shoot the Dinos 12-6 in the first period in front of a sold out home crowd. Butler was strong in net, denying Saskatchewan on two power play chances to keep the game scoreless. Calgary’s best work in the frame was done on turnovers as they were able to pick off a number of Saskatchewan’s breakout passes. No interception would go for a serious scoring chance as the Dinos had troubles getting the puck on Ryan Holfeld.
After being pressed hard through most of the first period by the Huskies, the Dinos came out of the second hard as Saskatchewan was forced into taking a penalty. On their second man advantage of the night, Calgary captain Reid Jorgensen snapped shot through Holfeld at 3:56 to open the scoring. Egener and Brock Nixon collected assists on the special teams tally.
Saskatchewan looked to respond right away as the top line of Kyle Bortis, Derek Hulak, and Kyle Ross drove toward the Dinos’ zone. The Huskies’ snipers tried to get Butler from the sides of the net, but the 2011 CIS goaltender of the year continued his clutch play with a couple of huge saves.
With five minutes to go in the middle frame, Kevin King got called on a double-minor for high sticking which gave the Huskies four minutes of power play time. The Calgary penalty killers stepped up though and had the best chance to score during the Saskatchewan advantage. A quick pass by Cory Pritz found Walker Wintoneak skating out from the left side on a breakaway. The second-year forward was able to beat Holfeld, but was stopped by the post as the period ended 1-0 for the Dinos.
With a one-goal lead in the third period, the Dinos became guilty of trying to hold on against a very offensively skilled Huskies club. With six minutes to go in regulation, the Rutherford Rink erupted. Kyle Ross skated through the middle of the Calgary, left to right, where he ripped a shot past Butler to knot the score at one.
The final minutes of the third saw Saskatchewan take a series of scoring chances at the Dinos’ net. With a power play in the final four minute, the Huskies were unable to take the lead as Game 1 had to be decided in overtime.
With another penalty kill behind them, this time in sudden death, the Dinos went on the attack looking for the winner. 6:16 into the extra session, Egener delivered a laser past Holfeld to take Game 1 for Calgary.
The Huskies outshot the Dinos 33-20. Calgary was 1/3 on the power play, while Saskatchewan went 0/7.
Game 2 of the Canada West Finals goes tomorrow evening at the Rutherford Rink. Puck drop is 7 p.m. Game 3, if needed, is Sunday at 7 p.m. Games can be viewed on canadawest.tv.