The U of M men’s hockey team absolutely embarrassed the Lethbridge Pronghorns over the weekend, dominating both games played at the Wayne Fleming Arena at Max Bell Centre. On Nov. 15, a strong defensive performance merited a 3-0 Bison win.
Manitoba started off as the aggressors, outshooting Lethbridge 17-6 in the first period, but could not find the back of the net. The biggest factor in the opening frame was the Bisons playing shorthanded. Manitoba killed four minor penalties, including a 5-on-3 for almost two full minutes towards the end of the first.
The Bisons built momentum off the opening period’s penalty killing. They set the pace with a number of heavy checks while keeping the play in the Lethbridge zone. Their hard work paid off as forward Luke Cain notched his second goal of the year with 4:04 remaining in the second. The Bisons did not let up, tallying with 1:14 left. Forward Jory Coates’ first career CIS goal gave the Bisons a 2-0 lead heading into the third.
Aaron Lewadniuk notched his team-leading fourth goal of the season just 26 seconds into the third period to give the Bisons a 3-0 lead. Bison goalie Joe Caligiuri had a relatively easy night, stopping all 17 shutout shots. Meanwhile, at the other end, Lethbridge goalie Dylan Tait faced 43 shots.
Head coach Mike Sirant touched on the importance of the victory, saying, “This was a very important win for us tonight. A real important two points so that we can start turning things around, and start the long climb back up into the standings.”
The Bisons continued their climb the following night, picking up an impressive 7-0 victory.
Manitoba took control early on and never let go. Forward Craig Scott opened up the scoring just 2:59 into the first, taking advantage of a helpless Lethbridge defenceman who had lost his stick. The Bisons added to their lead at 14:23 as forward Jesse Paradis scored on a 3-on-1. Manitoba led 2-0 heading into the second period.
The Bisons chased Pronghorn starting goalie Damien Ketlo out of the net in the second period. Dylan Kelly scored for Manitoba just 30 seconds into the frame, putting away a loose rebound. Taylor Dickin then added to the lead at 5:44, stealing Ketlo’s attempted pass away, notching an easy goal. The goal forced the Lethbridge bench to replace Ketlo with Tait. Dickin won his second goal of the game just 16 seconds later. Ian Duval capped off the wild second period with a goal at 13:52 that gave Manitoba a 6-0 lead heading into the final frame.
The third period didn’t merit much action, the only goal coming at 15:39 as Dickin topped off a great night with the hat trick. Joe Caligiuri recorded his second straight shutout, stopping 23 Lethbridge shots.
Head coach Mike Sirant talked about the importance of having a great start: “We didn’t want to give our opponents any momentum for the game, and to try to take that away from them early, but then also to continue to really strive for a full 60-minute game tonight.”
The Bisons (4-7-1) will now head on the road for a huge weekend set against the UBC Thunderbirds (3-8-1). Games are Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.
Bison women victorious in Lethbridge
The Bisons cracked the scoreboard twice in the final minute of the first period, holding on the rest of the way to a 4-3 victory against Lethbridge on Nov. 15. Scoring for the Bisons were Kyleigh Palmer, Caitlin MacDonald, and Amy Lee with two goals. Megan Bailey added two goals for Lethbridge, as well as Sadie Lenstra with one.
The rematch the following evening produced even better results for Manitoba as they emerged with a 3-0 victory. Scoring for the Bisons were Maggie Litchfield-Medd, Jessica Rosenbaum, and Caitlin MacDonald. Dée-Ana Marion stopped 22 shots for the shutout.
With the pair of victories, the Bisons improved to 7-4-1 on the season, while the Pronghorns fell to 3-7-2. The next women’s action takes place on the road, as Manitoba faces off against the UBC Thunderbirds with games on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 23 at 6 p.m.