Cougars beat Dinos before record crowd

coug thumbnailIt was a battle of the city rivals Thursday night, when the Mount Royal University Cougars men’s hockey team took on the University of Calgary Dinos in a showcase game at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Cougars took away the win, with a final score of 3-1.

For many of the players, getting to play in home of the Calgary Flames was an experience they wouldn’t soon forget.

Dinos outscore Cougars in women’s game

The Dinos and Cougars women’s hockey teams faced off earlier in the evening in front of a crowd of more than 2,200 fans. The Cougars were out of a playoff position for this season, but the Dinos had already solidified the top spot in Canada West with a 21-4-1 record.

The Cougars started off the goal-scoring with fifth-year player Michelle Ziegler putting the puck past Dino goaltender Amanda Tapp. This is Ziegler’s final season with Mount Royal.

Dinos defender Kelsie Lang scored early in the second to tie the game at 1-1. Cougars forward Sarah Weninger responded on a powerplay minutes later to gain her team’s lead back.

Dinos forward Iya Gavrilova had two goals in the night, back-to-back in the second period. This put her team up 3-2. Hayley Wickenheiser and Elana Lovell both scored with less than five minutes left in the game to solidify the Dinos 5-2 victory.

The Dinos outshot the Cougars 36-19.

“Seeing how excited everyone in the crowd was, was probably the best part of the game,” he said. “So many people at both schools have worked really hard to get the spirit at both schools up and try to get people into watching varsity sports.”Fifth-year player and Cougars goaltender Justin Cote played his final game of both the season and his university career at the Saddledome on Thursday. Cote said that receiving first star in the game wasn’t as rewarding as seeing how much fun the fans were having.

Record-setting attendance

The attendance record for most fans at a single game was broken for Canada West play, with 4,275 fans watching the varsity face-off. The previous record of 4,109 was set Feb. 13, 1971 in Edmonton, when the Dinos men’s hockey team played the Golden Bears.

The atmosphere in the ‘Dome was electric, with fans from both sides chanting support for their respective teams throughout the men’s game. Many also attended the women’s game earlier in the night, which ended with a final score of 5-2 in favour of the Dinos.It was Mount Royal student Andrea Locke’s first university hockey game ever at the Saddledome on Thursday night.

dinofan2Dino fan Charly Smith (left) was visiting from Calgary when a friend told her about the game. “(It’s) a real Canadian experience,” she said.

Photo by Lisa Hallet

“Having the game in the Saddledome is great,” she said. “There are so many people around and everyone seems really into it. It makes me definitely want to go again.”

Dinos fan Charly Smith was visiting Calgary from the U.K., when a friend told her about the game.

“The game is so fast-paced and the crowd is really into it,” Smith said.  “It’s been a lot of fun. (It’s) a real Canadian experience.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi received a loud roar from fans when he appeared on the Jumbotron early in the first period. The mayor presented the Dinos with a 68-kilogram City of Calgary sewer manhole cover. The award recognized the U of C’s dominance over MRU during regular-season play.

Competing in basketball, volleyball, soccer and hockey, the Dinos registered nine wins, four losses, and two tie games against the Cougars in their regular CIS division games.

The rivalry lives on

cougfanThis was Andrea Locke’s first experience at a Cougars hockey game. “There are so many people around and everyone seems really into it,” she said.

Photo by Lisa Hallet

Cote noted that as the Cougars are not going to make the playoffs this season, it was “fun to play spoiler” to the Dinos, who now have to rely on other teams losing for them to gain home-ice advantage for the playoffs.

Max Ross, who scored the lone goal for the Dinos in the second period, said the team did not put in “a full 60-minute effort.”

“We are disappointed with the outcome because we want home ice for the playoffs and the loss set us back two points,” he said.

Men’s hockey playoffs begin March 22 in Saskatoon, Sask.

This story has been updated to include a recap of the women’s game.

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