Special Teams dictate Dinos’ 3-0 victory over UBC


Vancouver – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team was shutout for the second consecutive game as the Calgary Dinos won the first of two games in Vancouver on Friday night at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Dylan Walchuk, Elgin Pearce, and Kodie Curran provided markers for the Dinos in the latter two periods after a scoreless first handing UBC goaltender Eric Williams his second loss of the season. The trio of Calgary goals came courtesy the power play, shorthanded and at even strength as the Dinos defense needed little offensive support.
“We knew our areas of weakness tonight including turning the puck over a few too many times,” said UBC captain Ben Schmidt following the game. “If we can tighten that up and play a more complete game everyone on this team knows we have a chance to beat them.”
The Thunderbirds, now 5-4-2, have its scoreless streak extend to north of 120 minutes, having been shutout last weekend by Regina and tonight by Calgary. The Dinos improve to 9-2-0 and remain two points back of Alberta after the Golden Bears were also victorious on Friday night.
Kris Lazaruk continues to tear up the Canada West goaltending stats as the Calgary netminder improves to 5-1-0 on the season with a 0.67 goals against average and 0.968 save percentage, both of which had upticks thanks to tonight’s 16-save shutout. Williams got the nod for the Thunderbirds, falling to 1-2-1 and a 2.74 goals against average after stopping 21 of 24 shots Friday.
The first period featured few chances by both teams combined for just 15 shots through the opening frame. UBC’s best chance came courtesy of Anthony Bardaro who was robbed down-low after he tried to go high on Lazaruk during an early period power play opportunity for the home team.
Cole Wilson was flagged for a four-minute double minor as the first period winded down, which proved costly entering the second, as the Thunderbirds would pay for their lack of discipline.
The Dinos’ Walchuk opened the games scoring after corralling a bouncing puck in front of the net thanks to a feed from Kevin King before breaking the game’s scoreless deadlock. The power play marker came 54 seconds into the second as special teams continued to plague the Thunderbirds play.
Calgary doubled their lead, this time one man down to the Thunderbirds, as Pearce made the T-Birds pay after four UBC players were caught in the corner trying to strip Calgary’s Brooks Myers of the puck. The goal was Pearce’s sixth goal of the season as the second-year forward extends his point streak to six games.
Jessi Hilton had a number of chances late in the second to try and cut into Calgary’s lead but Lazaruk was satisfied with maintaining his team’s lead, robbing Hilton on a pair of point blank chances. UBC managed just two shots through the first nine minutes of the second period and would be tasked with scoring at least two goals in the third to salvage any points after Friday.
Although ultimately unneeded, the Dinos got a bit of insurance midway through the third period as Curran walked in from the left point and wired one low past Williams giving the visiting team a 3-0 advantage. The goal gave Curran a multi-point game for the third time this season and extends his league-leading point total (15 pts.) for defenseman.
“When you face such a defensively strong team like Calgary, you really have to manufacture chances, go to the front of the net and create some traffic in front of their goalie,” added Schmidt on the key’s to bounce back tomorrow night.
UBC finished 0-for-5 on the power play while Calgary converted on one of its three chances on Friday night. The Thunderbird managed just two shots in the final frame, not nearly enough to give themselves a fighting chance to mount any sort of a comeback
The Thunderbirds will look to solve the Calgary defense tomorrow at 7 p.m., with the puck drop taking place at Father Bauer Arena in Vancouver.