Taking the team to new heights, head coach Mike Sirant’s return to the Bisons after a three year professional development leave is nothing short of exceptional. The team was ranked third in the CIS top 10 going into two home games against the Calgary Dinos this past weekend. This is the highest ranking the team has ever had at the beginning of a season.
On Friday, the Bison men’s hockey team played the first of two games against the Dinos. The game began with some close shots by both teams but both teams remained scoreless at the end of the first period. In the second period, Bison Greg Beller scored on a penalty shot, getting his third goal of the season and putting Manitoba in the lead. Calgary turned the game around in the third period with both Jerrid Sauer and Dan Ehrman getting the puck past Bison goalie Steve Christie. In the end, it was a 2-1 loss for the Bisons, making it their third straight loss in a row.
On Saturday, Calgary and Manitoba faced each other again at the Max Bell Arena with much different results. With less then five minutes left in the first period, the Calgary Dinos’ Brock Nixon scored the first goal of the game. In the second period, Manitoba’s Ian Duval tied up the game and the two teams entered the third period with an equal chance at winning the game. But only 12 seconds into the period Mike Hellyer put the Bisons back in the lead with his fifth goal of the season.
But the Dinos’ Torrie Wheat scored again, sending the game to overtime. Manitoba’s goalie Jesse Deckert made spectacular saves until Bison Jared Walker scored to give Manitoba the shootout win with a final score of 3-2. This puts Manitoba in second place in the Canada West standings.