The puck dropped on the University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey season this weekend with a pair of games against the reigning Canada West champions, the Alberta Pandas.
The herd edged the Pandas on Saturday night with a 2-1 win, but fell 4-0 on Sunday.
Saturday night comeback
On Saturday, the teams saved the scoring until late in a penalty-filled affair. Alberta received seven penalties on the night, and the Bisons had five of their own.
After two periods of scoreless hockey, the deadlock was broken by the Pandas in the third period, when they struck with a goal by defenceman Natasha Steblin.
The Bisons pushed for an equalizer and they found one just two minutes later through Alanna Sharman, The second-year forward will be looking to build off her impressive rookie year – one in which she led the Canada West in scoring.
The herd grabbed the game winner with three minutes remaining in the contest. Lauryn Keen, the defenceman from Manitou, was the hero of the night as she completed the comeback for the home side.
The Bisons held off a late push from the Pandas, killing a penalty in the dying minutes of the game. The score line showed how close this contest was, as Manitoba had 17 shots, compared to Alberta’s 14.
Bisons get blanked on Sunday
The Pandas were determined to avenge the loss they were handed by Manitoba the night before. They pushed early and it resulted in forward Nicole McGlenen taking a penalty early in the first. Alberta capitalized and scored on the ensuing power play. Alberta would add another before the period was up.
A penalty-riddled second period saw no goals being scored, with Manitoba keeping themselves close heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Pandas really pushed in the third period, however, as they outshot the herd 11-4. They would add two more goals, one from Erinn Baddock, and another via Alison Campbell.
Bison penalties would be the story of the night, as they took five, compared to Alberta’s one. Manitoba’s lack of discipline bogged down the flow of the game, as well as their chances, and never allowed them to mount a serious comeback.
On a positive note, Bison goalie Rachel Dyck played admirably in the loss, making 28 saves on 32 shots.
The Bisons now head to Regina for a pair of games against the Cougars next weekend. Last season, the Bisons had a 3-1 record in the regular season playing against Regina.
The Cougars will be seeking revenge as the Bisons kicked them out of the Canada West playoffs last year.