CALGARY – In the opening matchup of an important weekend series for University of Calgary Dinos, who sit just one spot back of the playoffs, the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies prevailed 2-0 at Father David Bauer arena Friday night.
Heading into this matchup, strong displays of goaltending were to be expected. The Huskies have the fewest goals allowed in Canada West with 26, while Kelsey Roberts, who owns a 0.950 save percentage, has proven she can steal games for the Dinos.
The first period saw both teams playing with high energy, trading time in one another’s offensive zones. Both teams showcased strong defense and heavy back-checking, and shots were 3-1 in favor of the Dinos after 10 minutes. However, the remainder of the first period saw the Huskies take control, registering nine straight shots and recording a couple good scoring chances. As usual, second year standout Kesley Roberts stood tall for the Dinos.
The second period saw the Huskies take control of play, initiating a heavy fore-check, and a stingy back-check. The efforts of the Huskies paid off midway through the second frame. After a pass from the boards found Kayla Kirwan all alone in front of the net, Kelsey Roberts made a phenomenal pad stop to rob Kirwan at point blank range. However, the rebound would find captain Kaitlin Willoughby who capitalized on the second opportunity to put her team in front. The Dinos were only able to muster one shot in the second frame, relying on Kesley Roberts to keep the game close.
The team was not without chances in the game, seeing three powerplay opportunities. They simply were unable to capitalize.
“The powerplay is all about puck movement,” explains Dinos head coach Daniel Goyette when asked about how her team can capitalize on the man advantage.
“Our powerplay needs to work harder… Tonight, we did not generate anything with the powerplay and were unable to change the momentum of the game.”
Although the powerplay was unable to produce, the team was much more disciplined tonight, only being tabbed for one penalty. However, as has been the case all season, the Dinos must find a way to generate offense.
“We need to find a way to put more pucks on net,” said coach Goyette. “We battle hard, but we need to out-battle them tomorrow. They win more battles than us on the board, and we end up chasing the puck all night.”
In the third frame, the Huskies worked diligently in search of the go-ahead goal, registering 17 shots. However, as expected, Kelsey Roberts remained phenomenal, keeping her team in the game.
Roberts would be pulled with over a minute remaining, and although Merissa Dawson would make a phenomenal play to block a sure-fire empty net goal, the Huskies would eventually score with one second remaining.
Despite the disappointing result and only seven shots on net, the game was in reach for almost the full sixty minutes. Coach Goyette acknowledges that the team must stay positive moving into tomorrow’s rematch.
“We cannot do anything about the game tonight. We just have to come back tomorrow and want the game more than they do.”
Third year defender, and assistant captain Paige Michalenko identified specific improvements the offense and defense can make to produce a different result tomorrow night.
“[Offensively], we are just going to try to shoot from everywhere and get as many shots on net as we can. [Defensively], we definitely need to work on those faceoffs and be stronger on the wings and battle to get that puck. We need to box them out in front of the net and let Kelsey get sight of the shot.”
The teams will run it back tomorrow night for a 6 p.m. start time at the Father David Bauer arena in Calgary.