Kelly-Anne Roberts, Dinos Communications Assistant
CALGARY- For the eighth year in a row the University of Calgary Dinos will play in the Canada West playoff semi-finals, after sweeping the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 5-2, Saturday evening at the Father David Bauer Arena.
After playing three overtime periods Friday evening, the second-longest game in Canada West playoff history, neither team backed off in the second game of the quarter-finals. UBC was looking to tie the series up while Calgary was looking to end the series.
"It's nice getting it done, they were a hard fought team, they battled us hard this entire series," stated assistant captain Drydn Dow. "With their backs against the wall they played a tough game today but it's nice to get this one done."
Calgary opened the scoring just before the mid-way point of the opening frame. On the power play Adam Kambeitz passed the puck to Dow on the point from the half-wall, Dow went D-to-D to Braiden Doucette who walked the line before firing a wrist shot through traffic and past Thunderbird goaltender Derek Dun.
Just one minute later the Thunderbirds tied things up. Off a face-off to the glove side of Dino goalie Matt Greenfield, Luke Lockhart won the draw back to Jerret Smith who put away his first of the series.
Looking to get ahead early, the Thunderbirds took a 2-1 lead off a power play goal with under four minutes to play in the first. Smith fanned on a shot from the point but the puck landed on Anthony Bardaro's stick before he rung a shot of the post to no avail, Manraj Hayer was there to burry the rebound.
Both teams continued to exchange chances in the second period but it would be Calgary that would break the stand-still. Parker Bowles moved through UBC's slot, couldn't find a lane to shoot, passed it across the zone to Dow on the blue line. Dow one-timed his fifth point of the quarter-finals past Dun.
"Just continue rolling," explained Dow on his success on the ice. "We have such a good team this year, they make it easy. I'll keep doing what I'm doing, I've been lucky to get on the scoresheet. It's been fun and it's a great group of guys, we just have to keep going."
The Dinos would pull ahead late in the middle stanza once again on the power play. Dow fed Coda Gordon on the near half-wall where Gordon touch passed to Kambeitz in the high-slot. Kambeitz, waiting for the one-timer, put the Dinos up 3-2.
Calgary continued to pull ahead in the third period. Chris Collins picked up a pass from Mitch Cook, Collins all alone in front went backhand-forehand before putting the puck five-hole and in.
With just under three minutes remaining in their season, the Thunderbirds greatest opportunity of the period would come on the power play. Greenfield had to make a stretch cross-crease pad save to stop Joe Antilla from pulling his team within one.
"I'm pretty excited right now, but we'll dial it back in for a good week of practices and get ready for U of A," said Dow.
The Dinos would put away an empty net goal to solidify their place in the semi-finals. The Dinos will travel to Edmonton next weekend, Feb. 24-26 for a best of three series against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
"We've seen them a lot, obviously they are a skilled team and that's a tough arena to play in but we're rolling right now and as long as we continue to play consistent I think we have a really good shot against the Golden Bears," stated Dow. "They are a skilled team but as long as we keep playing our game we'll always have a shot."
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