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This article was published 2/3/2012 (3493 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Down by two goals in the third period Friday night, the stage was set for someone in the brown-and-gold to step up for the University of Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team.
It was fifth-year forward Jared Walker who performed a slick spin and scored a backhand goal on a penalty shot with 3:43 left in the game, but the Calgary Dinos held on for a 2-1 win over the Bisons in the first game of the best-of-three Canada West Conference semifinal series at the U of M's Max Bell Arena.
The two teams will meet again tonight at 7 in the second game of the series. The third game, if necessary, is set for 7 p.m. Sunday.
The winner of this series will advance to the best-of-three Canada West championship on March 9-11.
"It's disappointing to lose a 2-1 game, but I thought, being our first playoff game, at times we were over-anxious, maybe forcing things that weren't there, taking too many penalties. We can't do that," said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant, noting the team talked about limiting penalties to four at the most, but was tagged for seven minors and a double minor for high-sticking. "That's just guys being over-anxious, wanting to win so badly and losing our composure at times. In the third period, we played our strongest period and created a lot of chances but just didn't score."
Bisons forwards Tyler Dittmer, Mike Hellyer and Ian Duval forced Calgary netminder Dustin Butler to make some highlight-reel stops.
Leading 1-0 early in the third, the Dinos scored the winning goal on a routine clearing pass by Blake Clement that snuck in under the glove of Bisons goaltender Joe Caligiuri.
"That was what we call a greasy road game. We're going to get that bounce maybe once every couple years, and sometimes that's how you have to win games on the road," said Calgary left-wing Brock Nixon, 25, who was born in Dauphin and grew up in Russell before heading to the Western Hockey League for five years.
"We certainly can't bank on bounces like that tomorrow night, because we know they're going to up their game. They've got a lot of offensive touch in that room, and we still gave up too many chances, but our goalie was tremendous."
The second goal spoiled what had been a decent night for Caligiuri, who had not been scored on by Calgary in the three regular-season contests in which he played goal. Friday, the Dinos outshot Manitoba 32-28.
To open the game, the Bisons came out on fire, outshooting Calgary 6-0 in the first 90 seconds of the game.
After a scoreless first frame, Calgary captain Reid Jorgensen scored on a redirected shot just 43 seconds into the second period.