CALGARY (from Calgary Dinos) – With more than 10,000 fans packed into the Scotiabank Saddledome, veteran forward Cain Franson capped off a wild, back-and-forth affair with a double-overtime breakaway winner, giving the Dinos a 6-5 victory over the Mount Royal Cougars on Thursday night.
“Surreal” said Dinos captain Dan Gibb on the wild victory in Canada West men’s hockey play. “Definitely an exciting game to be at.”
The Dinos were quick to jump on the Cougars as a lucky break got the Dinos on the board first. Gibb threw a point shot that deflected off teammate Matt Alfaro, then Cougars defenceman Clive Rozdeba before skipping past Cam Lannigan. Shortly after, Alfaro had a goal disallowed, but Calgary promptly responded with another goal.
Tyler Coulter found himself with Tim Vanstone on a two-on-one rush. Coulter ripped the puck past Lannigan’s glove, doubling the Dinos lead.
That two-goal cushion did not last long. Just 1:07 following the Coulter goal, Cougars captain Jamie King finished off a mad scramble in front of Dinos keeper Matt Greenfield, making it 2-1.
Seven minutes into the second period, the Cougars scored the only goal of the session, tying it 2-2. Off a Calgary turnover, Hunter Zandee snuck a wrister past Greenfield on the shortside.
Heading into the third knotted at two goals each, Mount Royal took their first lead of the night 65 seconds in. Cougars forward David Stephens chipped a loose puck past an out of position Greenfield making it 3-2.
Short-handed because of a Jared Hauf double minor, the Dinos struck back. Defender Ryan Gagnon joined the rush and rifled a snapshot by Lannigan, deadlocking the game again.
After 10 minutes of relatively quiet action, the third period finale was started by Dinos defender Drydn Dow. On a perfect backdoor feed from Alfaro, Dow finessed the puck up and over an outstretched Lannigan making it 4-3.
Just 78 seconds later, King picked up his second of the game which was followed up by Tanner Olstad burying home a beautiful pass from Jamal Watson. In a span of 1:39, the Cougars found themselves with another lead.
The 5-4 lead lasted a mere 27 seconds, as Dinos rookie forward Ryan Graham buried home a Mitch Cook pass, remarkably tying the game once again. With Graham’s first off the season, the barn burner went into extra time.
Calgary had the best chance to end it in the first overtime, as Dan Gibb on a dominant shift, was denied by Lannigan. The Dinos also survived an Alfaro penalty, and the game headed deeper into overtime.
Just 29 seconds into double-overtime, Franson took a pass from Chris Collins, and found himself with a breakaway from the Cougars blue line. Franson, on the backhand, pulled the puck across before sliding the puck through the legs of Lannigan, capping off the Dinos victory in dramatic fashion.
“I took off and I knew at about the red line, I had a step on him” said Franson on the winner. “Hats off to Collins, it was a hell of a pass.”
The Dinos and Cougars will be right back in the action at 7 p.m. MT Friday, as Calgary will play host to Mount Royal at the Father David Bauer Arena. The game can be streamed live on Canadawest.tv