The women’s hockey team ended their 2009-10 season with silver medal honours this past weekend as they were eliminated in the final round of the Canada West playoffs. The University of Alberta Pandas won the three-game series two games to none, defeating the Bisons first on Friday, March 5, by a score of 2-0, then once more on Saturday 3-2.
With only seconds remaining in game two the Bisons were up by a score of 2-1 and looked poised to force the top ranked Alberta team into a third and final game. At 19:32 of the third period, however, the Pandas pulled their goalie and converted a rebound near the crease to tie the score 2-2. The game didn’t last very long after that, as less than five minutes into the first overtime period, Alberta forward Alana Cabana scored the game-winner off an offensive zone faceoff win. Manitoba’s Tammy Brade scored both tallies for the Bisons, leading all U of M players with three goals in a total of five playoff games. Nellie Minshull was Manitoba’s leading post-season scorer with two goals and two assists.
Earlier in the week Manitoba’s Caitlin MacDonald was named Rookie of the Year in the 2009-10 Canada West Women’s Hockey Awards. In 24 games this season MacDonald compiled six goals and nine assists, finishing second in league scoring on defence.
In men’s hockey the Bisons won their three game playoff series 2-1 against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The weekend saw both teams split the first two games before Manitoba took a commanding lead in game three and held on late to secure a 5-1 victory.
In the first game of their best-of-three series the men’s hockey team lost to the University of Saskatchewan by a score of 5-2. On Saturday, Manitoba responded with a 4-2 win, which forced the decisive game three.
With both teams tied at one in the second period, Manitoba exploded offensively, scoring four unanswered goals and taking a stranglehold on the game going into the third period. The Huskies outshot the Bisons in the final frame but were ultimately unable to chip away at their sizable deficit. Blair Macaulay and Mike Hellyer both had big games for the Bisons on Sunday as Macaulay finished the night with a hat trick and Hellyer added the team’s other two goals. Following their victory over Saskatchewan, the Bisons will now travel to Edmonton to take on the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the Canada West Final, March 12-14.
With the regular season firmly in their rearview mirror, the women’s volleyball team went all the way to the CIS National Finals this past weekend but had to settle for second place as they lost to UBC 3-1. This is the third straight year that UBC has taken the national banner in women’s volleyball.
On the opening night of the nationals Manitoba defeated the OUA champs from University of Toronto by a score of 3-0. On Saturday the Bisons continued their rise to the top, besting the University of Alberta 3-1.
The final game was a tightly contested affair that saw the Thunderbirds take the early lead in the majority of sets, only to have Manitoba fight their way back to keep the score close at all times. The Bisons were able to tie the game early at one set apiece, but the team lost energy when libero Nichole Hall was forced to leave the game due to injury. Using alternates the Bisons did what they could to try and gain momentum back, but ultimately UBC’s attack was too much to handle for a wavering Manitoba team.
After the gold medal game, UBC’s Liz Cordonier was awarded tournament MVP, while Manitoba’s Tricia Mayba and Ashley Voth were both named tournament all-stars.