Coming off of a weekend sweep on the road against Mount Royal, the Bison women’s hockey team returned to Wayne Fleming Arena this week to take on the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Led by rookie Alanna Sharman and sophomore Rachel Dyck, Manitoba took it to the visitors, winning both matinee games.
On Saturday afternoon, the team laced up with pink, wrapped their sticks in pink tape, and redecorated the Wayne Fleming Arena with pink streamers and balloons in support of Shoot For the Cure. With a large crowd in attendance, the Bisons delivered a 3-1 victory.
Manitoba opened the scoring seven minutes into the game with a rocket off Sharman’s stick. The Longhorns tied the game and put the Bisons on their heels with 20 seconds left in the first period on a goal by Sadie Lenstra. Lethbridge went into the break with the momentum, something that head coach Jon Rempel touched on.
“I thought we did a really good job of not panicking,” Rempel said. “I thought we were flat. They were winning most of the battles and competing for the puck.”
The Longhorns carried the play in the second period, but were taken down a notch by a strong power play from the Bisons near the end of the second. Erica Rieder had several good chances from the blue line and made a clean pass to Sharman, who almost netted her second of the night.
Rempel pointed to the power play at the end of the second period as the turning point in the game for the Bisons.
“I thought it gave us a little more confidence to do things with the puck [ . . . ] And I really think that generated some momentum and a little more energy for the third,” said Rempel.
The Bisons took the lead for good at 6:42 of the third, moments after Caitlin Fyten prevented a shorthanded break, which then allowed Megan Tully to put away the eventual game winner. Almost a minute later, Sharman netted the insurance goal for the Bisons to cap the scoring.
Dyck had a 16-save performance in net, continuing to lead the Canada West with the lowest goals against average. Rempel lauded the play of his goalie, touching on her work ethic.
“No question Rachel is pretty dialled in. I really think her approach every day is what’s showing up in games here. Her diligence in practice, her diligence in the weight room, things she did in the off-season, the things she does with her goalie coach; she set the bar really high,” Rempel said.
Sunday afternoon saw Amanda Schubert called to the net, where she helped backstop the Bisons’ 5-3 win over the Pronghorns. Manitoba improved to an impressive 6-1-1 and are currently tied for the top spot in the Canada West.
Sharman continued her impressive rookie campaign by adding a power play goal in the second period. Two Bisons found the back of the net twice on Sunday: rookie forward Lauryn Keen and second-year forward Alana Serhan. The youth on the Bisons have had a considerable impact on the success of this team, and coach Rempel had high praise for this year’s recruitments’ class.
“These kids coming in here aren’t afraid to play, not afraid of the big moments, and they’re not afraid of responsibility,” said Rempel.
The Bisons are on a bye this week. Their next action takes place Nov. 7 against the University of Alberta in an important matchup on the road. The University of Alberta is currently tied with the Bisons for first in the conference. Game times are at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.