Stellar Stanford leads Dinos past Cougars

Stellar Stanford leads Dinos past Cougars

Brendan Stasiewich, Mount Royal Sports Information 

CALGARY- In one of the most important games of the season, the Calgary Dinos (16-9-1) picked up their second win in as many nights against the Mount Royal Cougars (15-9-2), knocking the Cougars off 2-0 at the Flames Community Arenas. 

Steven Stanford improved his personal record to 9-6-1 with his fourth shutout of the season, turning aside all 35 Cougars' shots. Elgin Pearce scored both of the Dinos markers, improving his team lead to 16 goals and 27 points. 

With the win, Calgary leapfrogged Mount Royal for third place in the standings with just two games remaining on the season. The loss comes as Mount Royal's fourth in a row.

The Cougars wound up in trouble early after taking back-to-back penalties, giving the Dinos 44 seconds of five on three time. On the kill Cam Maclise went down to block a Dinos blast from the point. The slap shot hit Maclise just below the elbow, leaving him in visible pain. 

Unable to clear the zone, the Dinos took advantage of the hurting Maclise. Elgin Pearce let a shot go from the slot through a screen that found its way past Cam Lanigan, giving the Dinos a 1-0 lead. 

Neither team was able to gain much momentum after that, with scoring chances few and far between as the Dinos took their 1-0 lead into the locker room. 

Stephen Stanford wasn't busy in the first half of the contest, but faced his hardest task when David Stephens and Mitch Amotto came into the zone on a two on one with 13 minutes left in the second frame. Stephens sent the puck cross-ice to Amotto, but a sprawling Stanford was able to get his left pad on the shot. 

Stanford was rock solid in net for the remainder of the frame, turning aside good chances from Matthew Brown and Jamal Watson late in the period. Stanford stopped all 17 shots faced through two frames, keeping his team up one going into the third. 

A crazy series of events unfolded midway through the third frame when Connor Rankin made his way past two defenders before losing the puck in front of Stanford. Cam Maclise found the puck as the Cougars crashed the goal, letting a shot off that Stanford barely got a toe on. 

The Dinos made their way down to the other end of the ice where Lanigan found himself out of position, giving the Dinos what appeared to be an empty net, but the attempt rang off the post. 

A few minutes later Jesse Lees would make a huge hit at the Cougars blue line. Coming just a split second after the puck had been cleared, the official raised his arm to call an interference penalty, leaving the Cougars bench livid.

Elgin Pearce would score his second goal of the game shortly into the power play. The puck came to Pearce just outside the circle, and with a sea of blue and white in front of the net he sent a shot that beat Lanigan on the blocker side. 

With Lanigan on the bench, Tanner Olstad came into the Dinos zone on a two on one attempting to put the Cougars within striking distance. However, as he was all night, Stanford was solid, stopping Olstad's shot and holding the puck for a faceoff. 

Killing off the remaining 30 seconds, the Dinos celebrated as they won their third straight game at the most important time.

With the Dinos traveling to Regina next weekend to play the last place Cougars, a sweep would assure them no worse than third place going into the Canada West playoffs. Meanwhile the Cougars will host the UBC Thunderbirds, needing some help from Regina as well as a weekend sweep to jump back ahead of Calgary.