Dinos take down Cougars in front of record setting crowd
Brendan Stasiewich, Mount Royal Cougars Sports Information
CALGARY, AB- On Thursday evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome the Mount Royal Cougars (13-5-3) fell to the University of Calgary Dinos (8-9-4) in a 2-1 overtime thrill ride. Max Ross was the hero, scoring both Dinos goals in a game that broke the CIS attendance record with 12,859 fans in attendance. The previous record was 8,882, set last year at the same event.
Zack Henry had the first scoring chance of the game. Coming in on a two on one he elected to try to beat Steven Stanford with a high shot. Stanford held his ground and turned aside the attempt with his shoulder.
Henry took two penalties in the first 10 minutes halting the Cougars even strength momentum they had gained. After killing both penalties with ease Mount Royal put their foot on the gas once again and held the puck for a majority of the last half of the period.
With eight minutes left in the frame Grant Baker gathered the puck at his own blue line and produced one of the best individuals efforts you'll see at a hockey game. Dangling through a wave of Dinos' defenders he ended up one on one with Stanford. Electing to shoot far side, Stanford wasn't fooled and turned away what would have been one of the goals of the year.
Four minutes later Dinos' leading scorer Chris Collins attempted to score a highlight reel goal of his own. Collins disrespected a few Cougars' defenders and ended up with a rare two on none contested by just goalie Cam Lanigan. Collins went upstairs, beating Lanigan but not the crossbar as the puck flew out of harms way.
Despite being shorthanded twice, the Cougars held a 7-4 edge in the shot total after the first period.
The second period proved to be even more wide open with the two teams going back and fourth trading shots and scoring chances.
The Dinos' opened the scoring three minutes into the second period after Scott McKay made a questionable decision to go after the puck near the blue line of his own end. Dinos' forward Max Ross ended up coming away with the puck and made a nifty toe drag that fooled both the Cougars' defender and Lanigan. Ross sent the Dinos' fans into a frenzy as he backhanded his third of the year into the Cougars' goal.
Cam Maclise had an unbelievable opportunity three minutes later with Stanford out of position. The puck found Maclise in the circle with a waning cage in front of him. Not getting all he had on the puck, Maclise propelled a shot towards the Dinos' goal- defended only by a desperation dive from Stanford. Reaching out with his stick, Stanford miraculously stopped the puck and dove on top to freeze play as Maclise covered his head in disbelief.
As time ticked down to end the second period Matthew Brown inadvertently ran into Stanford in front of the Dinos' net. The horn sounded with the Dinos in possession giving them a powerplay on fresh ice to start the third period.
After the penalty kill the game went back and fourth until the Cougars' top line had another great scoring chance with seven minutes remaining. Fiddler connected with Brown in front of the net but Stanford came up big with the leather denying the Cougars' equalizer.
The Dinos couldn't hold off the Cougars' pressure forever. Just a minute later Matt Bellerive gave the Cougars life when he wired a shot from the slot, beating Stanford top corner for his fourth of the year.
With nobody sealing the game in the last few minutes the Crowchild Classic would require overtime for the second time in three years.
Like he did all game, Stanford stood on his head in overtime turning away multiple Cougars' scoring chances. It appeared the game was moments away from being over on a few occasions as Matthew Brown and Tyler Fiddler both had great chances, both turned away by Stanford. The game headed to three on three.
The Cougars elected to start their first line of forwards in the three on three. With the Cougars pressing in the Dinos' zone, Brown attempted to step around a defenseman when his hands came up, hitting the player in the face with his stick. Drawing blood, Brown headed to the box for a double minor giving the Dinos a four-minute powerplay and a golden opportunity to end the Classic.
After killing off the first half of the penalty flawlessly, a bit of confusion gave Elgin Pearce an open point shot through a screen. Lanigan saved the first one but the rebound found Max Ross side cage where he buried his second of the game, giving the Dinos their first ever Crowchild Classic win.
Steven Stanford, who had one of his best games of the season, stopped 30 of 31 shots to improve his record to 5-5-4. Meanwhile Cam Lanigan turned aside 20 of 22 shots to fall to 2-3-2
The two teams will be back at it tomorrow evening at 7 P.M. at Father David Bauer Arena
Photo Credit: Adrian Shellard