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Dinos down T-birds in rough game

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Calgary rallies in third period to put UBC away

Still smarting from a 5-4 overtime loss the night before, after leading 4-1 going into the third period, the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team came out hard against the University of Calgary Dinos in exhibition play at Meadow Park arena on Saturday, Sept. 21.

The Dinos big defence used the trap to break up the T-birds offence, and their forwards capitalized on penalties to put the T-Birds down 5-2, including an empty net goal in the last minute of play.

"We went into the third period 2-2, and I think we just ran out of legs. Their offence was pumped up, and it was a great goal by (Calgary forward) Jason Boyd over the glove of (UBC goalie Robert) Filc that opened it up. They really kept coming at us, and we didn’t regroup," said T-brids coach Milan Dragicevic.

The game was fast and hard-hitting from the begging, with both teams finishing their checks and punishing players that forgot to keep their heads up.

"The night before was intense and by the second night we had a pretty good rivalry going. The guys really wanted to win the game, so the fans in Whistler were treated to a really hard-hitting game with some great powerplay goals and goaltending on both sides of the ice," Dragicevic said.

Emotions did run over, resulting in 10 10-minute penalties, divided evenly between the teams. There were a few ejections for fighting and the T-birds and Dinos played almost the entire third period with just four players on each side.

"I thought the officials were fair at least for penalizing both teams, although I’ve never seen that many 10 minute misconducts in one game before. The teams were very competitive and playing a very high level of hockey, and there were a few altercations out there after the whistle. We didn’t have as many players on the bench as Calgary and they wore us down," said Dragicevic.

Two outstanding T-bird performances came from forward Casey Bartzen and defenceman Ryan Thrussel.

"Bartzen played exceptionally well, he was all over the puck all night, skating hard into the opposition and creating opportunities," said Dragicevic.

"Thrussel was solid defending the blue line. He created a lot of opportunities with his passing, and was strong on defence, breaking up a lot of plays."

The university teams played at Meadow Park arena as part of an annual fundraiser for Whistler Minor Hockey Association. While conflicts with other events brought the attendance down from last year’s standing room only UBC game against the University of Alberta, more than 200 people were in the stands.

Next year, WMHA organizer Kerry Dennehy said he will try to pick a night that doesn’t conflict with other events, notably the Whistler slo-pitch year-end party.

"I know a lot of people that would have liked to have been here as well," said Dennehy.

Game Report

The Dinos put the first two points on the board with goals at 4:59 and 13:52 of the first period. Ian Constable put the first puck under Filc, with assists by Sean Russell and Sean Robertson. UBC had two players in the penalty box for the second Calgary goal by Trevo Segstro, assisted by defenceman Travis George and forward Jason Boyd.

With less than a minute to go and teams back at even strength, UBC forward Derek Dinelle took a shot and two rebound shots to finally put one past Calgary goalie Aaron Baker. Assists went to defenceman Shea Esselmont and forward Nils Antons.

Eight minutes into the second period, UBC struck again with Casey Bartzen threading a fast powerplay slapshot through the defence and out of reach of Baker. Shawn Villeneuve was given the assist.

In the third period, Calgary’s Mike Muzechka scored four minutes in at even strength – four on four – to once again take the lead. Boyd scored for Calgary at 9:12, assisted by Phil Barski to make it 4-2.

UBC rallied, and managed a few shots on net, but couldn’t make much headway against Baker or the Dinos defence. With 26 seconds left in the game, Bracken Kearns stole the puck and scored an empty netter to make it 5-2.

Penalties were the big story of the game, with UBC earning four trips to the box and David Rozek earning a game misconduct in the first period alone. Calgary had just one penalty that period.

The second period was a free for all with a total of 21 penalties for both sides, including 10 misconduct penalties in the last few minutes. At one point, UBC had eight players on the bench, five on the ice including the goalie, and six in the penalty box.

The game calmed down slightly in the third with just five penalties.

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