After a slow start and two consecutive losses to the University of Alberta, the Bisons women have been absolutely flying this season. Coming out of this past weekend’s action against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the Bisons have strung together 10 straight victories, giving the brown and gold an impressive 10-2 record heading into the holiday break.
The Bisons proved their mettle against stiff competition on Friday shutting out a third place Canada West Huskies team by a score of 2-0. The game opened with the Bisons jumping ahead in the first period, converting on back-to-back powerplay opportunities. Forward Nellie Minshull opened the scoring, shoveling in a rebound off a shot that landed just outside the crease, and defensemen Caitlin MacDonald added another for the herd just over a minute later off a shot from the point. Both goals came off interference calls against the Huskies.
In the second, Saskatchewan came out with strong energy and tight forechecking pressure, keeping the home team on the defensive side of the puck for the better half of the period. The Bisons were able to weather the storm and collect themselves fairly quickly, however, as the women’s team killed off both of the Huskies’ powerplays and kept their opponent off the board heading into the final frame.
The third period, much like the second, was a defensive battle that saw better discipline from the Bison squad but more shots from Saskatchewan. Even with their goalie pulled in the final minute, though, the Huskies could not muster enough offense to get the puck past Manitoba netminder Stacey Corfield, who earned her first regulation shutout this season.
The Bisons women took on Saskatchewan again on Saturday in what would turn out to be a more offensive showdown but in the end the results were the same. Manitoba won the second of the back-to-back games in overtime by a score of 3-2, earning the Bisons their 10th straight victory and further solidifying their Canada West spot in the process. Bisons forward Addie Miles enjoyed a two goal game Saturday night, notching both the tying goal and the game winner in overtime.
Earlier this season the Bisons women’s hockey team was also part of a feel-good story as members of the 2008-09 team reunited on the ice to help raise the Canada West Championship banner commemorating the first championship win and the first banner in the program’s 13 year history. Bison alumnus Leanne Kisil, Katherine O’Rourke, Sarah Stebeleski, Amanda Schnell and Brenna Leary all returned to take part in the historic ceremony. The 2008-09 women’s team earned the championship on March 15, after a grueling 3-2 victory in triple overtime against the high ranked Alberta Pandas.
Following their most recent victories, the Bisons women’s hockey team doesn’t play again until they take part in the Teresa Humes Invitational from Dec. 28-30. Conference play is not set to resume until Jan. 8 when the Bisons host the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns at Max Bell Arena.