By Ben Matchett
It’s been a season of turnarounds on the ice for the Dinos, with both the men’s and women’s hockey teams sporting impressive numbers as they head to the playoffs.
The men’s team story begins and ends with former NHLer Jared Aulin. The former second-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche spent 17 games in the NHL with the LA Kings and after bouncing around the minor leagues for a couple of years, came home to the University of Calgary to get his education and resurrect his hockey career.
The results have been sensational. In the first 10 games of the season, the Dinos managed only a single win. Enter Aulin and goaltender Jeff Weber, who both became eligible in mid-November. Since then, the Dinos have posted a league-best 9-2 record, averaged five goals per game and jumped all the way to third place in the standings.
Aulin has been the difference in the striking turn of events. In just 11 games he has scored 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points, just four off the conference scoring lead with games in hand over every player in front of him.
Every player, that is, except the one man who might stand in his way: linemate Ryan Annesley, who sits two points up on Aulin with 27. Annesley, a fifth-year senior and team captain, was a major reason Aulin decided to join the Dinos. The two played together with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers.
The Dinos have seven games remaining in their conference schedule as they look to clinch third place in the conference.
The women’s hockey team has enjoyed its own remarkable turnaround this year, engineered by head coach Danielle Goyette. With only a handful of players returning from last year’s lineup, Goyette has the Dinos in a legitimate battle for first place in the ACAC.
The best season in Dinos women’s hockey history came in the first year of its existence—1999-2000—when the team went 9-3 under a tournament format. Since then, the Dinos have not finished above the .500 mark, with seven wins the highest total.
That all changed under Goyette this year. With four games to play, she has led her team to a record of 10-5-3 and the Dinos sit in a three-way tie for second place.
The Dinos sport the top power play and the second-ranked penalty kill in the conference, and they’ve done it with offensive contributions from several players and a commitment to team defence.
Sophomore forward Ali Webb has been the offensive catalyst for the Dinos, leading the team with 14 points, while goaltender Katie Urness has posted a .922 save percentage and a sparkling 1.63 goals-against average.
Stay tuned to www.goDINOS.com for the latest updates and Dinos hockey playoff schedules.
Friday, Feb. 1 vs. Regina, 7 p.m., Father David Bauer Arena
Saturday, Feb. 2 vs. Regina, 7 p.m., Father David Bauer Arena
Friday, Feb. 8 vs. Manitoba, 7 p.m., Father David Bauer Arena
Saturday, Feb. 9 vs. Manitoba, 7 p.m., Father David Bauer Arena
Sunday, Feb. 10 vs. Alberta, 7 p.m., Centennial Arena
Friday, Feb. 15 @ Lethbridge
Saturday, Feb. 16 @ Lethbridge
Feb. 22-24: Canada West Quarterfinal (best-of-three)
Feb. 29-Mar. 2: Canada West Semi-final (best-of-three)
Mar. 7-9: Canada West Final (best-of-three)
Mar. 20-23: CIS University Cup @ Moncton, N.B.
Friday, Feb. 1 @ SAIT
Saturday, Feb. 2 vs. SAIT, 7 p.m., Olympic Oval
Friday, Feb. 8 @ Mt. Royal
Saturday, Feb. 9 vs. Mt. Royal, 7 p.m., Olympic Oval
Feb. 15-17: ACAC Quarterfinal (best-of-three)
Feb. 22-24: ACAC Semi-final (best-of-three)
Feb. 29-Mar. 2 and Mar. 7-8: ACAC Final (best-of-five)