Opposites attract, collide

Men's hockey team suffers two tight losses against first-ranked Alberta

Photo credit to Carolyne Kroeker

Moving into this weekend’s men’s hockey action, the University of Manitoba Bisons and Alberta Golden Bears were heading in two different directions. Alberta, the top team in the CIS, had won 10 straight games, whereas Manitoba had lost three out of their last four games. Despite the disparity in the two teams’ records, Manitoba gave the Golden Bears all they could handle, falling just short in both matchups.

Friday’s contest featured a third period come-from-behind victory, as Alberta pulled off a 3-2 win. The Golden Bears were all over the Bisons offensively, applying 46 shots to goalie Deven Dubyk, who stayed composed all game long.

Alberta threw 26 shots at Dubyk in the first period alone, but could only come up with one goal, from T.J. Foster 3:03 into the first frame on the power play. The Bisons appeared to be overwhelmed by the Golden Bears in the first 20 minutes, as they struggled to find a rhythm.

The second period was a different story, as Manitoba tied the game up at 9:37. Shaquille Merasty crashed the net, and potted his fifth goal of the season. Manitoba would take their momentum into the locker room, and came out aggressive in the third.

Taylor Dickin gave the Bisons their first lead of the game at 5:56 of the third, capitalizing on an Alberta giveaway in their own zone. Manitoba would hold onto that lead until the final seven minutes, where Alberta took over.

The Golden Bears tied the game up at 13:12 on a Johnny Lazo goal, and retook the lead just over two minutes later off of the stick of Riley Kieser, which proved to be the game-winner for Alberta.

After giving up a late third period lead, the Bisons were looking for redemption on Saturday night. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, as Alberta emerged with a 4-2 win.

Manitoba came out flat in the first period, perhaps still rattled from the night before. They managed just three shots on net, and found themselves down off of a Kruise Reddick goal at 7:50.

The second period saw the tempo pick up, as both squads increased their physicality and pressure. The Bisons would receive goals from Reid Gow (4:28) and Merasty (14:26 on the power play), while Alberta answered back with goals from Levko Koper (1:43) and Foster (12:41 on the power play).

Manitoba had a few quality chances to even the score in the third period, but Alberta goalie Luke Siemens stayed poised in net. The only goal came from Jordan Hickmott, who tallied an empty netter in the final 15 seconds to cement the Alberta win.

Despite the two losses, Manitoba head coach Mike Sirant was proud of his team’s play against the top team in the nation, noting their shift in aggressiveness on Saturday.

“I thought overall we had a really strong performance. Friday night’s game we hung around to keep it close, and tonight we actually put a lot more pressure on Alberta,” Sirant said. “I thought our guys competed hard tonight, I thought we played well.

The men will stay at home this weekend, welcoming the Calgary Dinos to town, on Nov. 14 and 15. Game times are 7 and 6 p.m., respectively.