Post-season action heated up this past weekend for the University of Manitoba Bisons; however, the end result wasn’t in the herd’s favour, as both the men’s basketball and hockey teams saw their seasons come to an end.
Men’s hockey fell in three games to the host the UBC Thunderbirds, while men’s basketball was swept 2-0 on the road against Calgary.
Manitoba entered the playoffs as the fifth seed, but were just one point behind opponents from UBC heading into the weekend matchup. Despite taking three out of four games against the Thunderbirds in the regular season, the Bisons failed to match UBC’s intensity when it counted, falling two games to one in their quarter-final matchup.
The home squad took advantage of their opportunities, scoring first in each of the three games, even though the Bisons outshot their opponents in the first two games of the series.
Game one on Thursday night saw UBC open up a two-goal cushion in the first three minutes of the game, a deficit that the Bisons weren’t able to come back from. The Thunderbirds received goals from five different players, en route to a 5-1 victory. Manitoba’s lone goal came from Kyle Rous, who scored at 9:57 of the first period.
With their backs against the wall on Friday night, the Bisons were able to respond, forcing a third and final game. The herd showed incredible resolve, coming back from one goal down on three separate occasions, pulling out a 4-3 overtime win. Their only lead ended up coming from the game-winning goal just 44 seconds into the extra session, off of the stick of Darren Bestland.
The Bison’s other goals came from Shaquille Merasty, Brett Dudar, and Josh Elmes.
Saturday’s deciding third game featured physical intensity from both squads, with a combined 48 minutes in penalties being dished out. It was UBC that would get the advantage on the scoreboard though, winning 3-1.
Manitoba ran into a hot goalie as Eric Williams was on top of his game, stopping 28 of 29 Bison shots, and fell just five seconds short of a shut-out, which was ended by Jory Coates.
Losers of seven straight games entering the post-season, the men’s basketball team was looking to change their fortune against a 12-8 Dino squad, which Manitoba had taken one out of two games against on the road earlier in the season.
Unfortunately, the herd was unable to extend their season, losing 92-81 on Friday, and 93-81 on Saturday.
Friday’s stat sheet was relatively equal, with the difference occurring the first and fourth quarters. Calgary out-scored Manitoba 27-17 in the first and 22-15 in the fourth.
All five of the Dinos’ starters reached double figures, with Lars Schlueter leading the way with 21 points off of 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. AJ Basi also had 21 points to head up the scoring for the Bisons.
Game two, on Saturday, was another close contest, with free throws playing a key factor in the result. Manitoba entered the fourth quarter down by just eight, but couldn’t capitalize on their chances from the line in the final 10 minutes, shooting just 69 per cent, compared to 83.9 per cent for Calgary.
Veteran Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson played a crucial role down the stretch, hitting a few contested shots to pad his team’s lead. He finished with a game-high of 23 points. Basi led the way again for the Bisons with 20 points.