Holding onto third spot in the Prairie Division, the Manitoba Bisons travelled west to visit Fraser Valley and Trinity Western of the Pacific Division this weekend. While the herd mounted an admirable comeback effort against the Fraser Valley Cascades in a 3-2 defeat on Friday, the Bisons were thrashed 6-0 by the Trinity Western Spartans, who sit on top of the Pacific table.
The back-to-back defeats mark the first time this season that Manitoba has been unable to finish a weekend with more than a point.
Bisons vs. Fraser Valley
It was an action-packed first half when Manitoba visited the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday evening. Goals from Monika Levarsky and Shelby Beck saw Fraser Valley take a 2-0 lead inside the opening 25 minutes of the first half.
By first half injury time, the Cascades had taken a comfortable 3-0 margin with defender Tristan Corneil striking off a set piece from Beck.
With two shots on target and facing a 3-0 deficit, the Bisons pressed during the little time that they had. Bisons goalkeeper Madison Wilford unleashed her ability to play the long ball when she sent in Alyssa Daley, a 29th minute substitute, for a chipped finish past keeper Kayla Klim.
The Cascades kept the Bisons at bay for majority of the second half. In the 85th minute, Daley played through winger Selina Speranza who then chipped her finish over substitute keeper Emily Harold for a 3-2 score.
The late push to earn a draw at Fraser Valley’s expense would not materialize as the Bisons lost for the first time in four matches. The early goal conceded by Wilford also ended the Bisons’ spell of over 300 consecutive minutes keeping a clean sheet.
Bisons vs. Trinity Western
The Bisons travelled to Langley, B.C. to face Trinity Western the very next day. Within the first 10 minutes, history repeated itself as Manitoba conceded two early goals through a Krista Gommeringer brace.
The striker’s cross was then impeded by a handball in the 21st minute, earning the Spartans a penalty. Alessandra Oliverio converted the spot kick for her 10th goal of the CIS season and Manitoba found themselves once again trailing 3-0 in the first half.
Isabella Di Trocchio added a fourth goal to widen the gap in the 40th minute, reducing any chances of a Manitoba comeback – a feat accomplished by the Bisons on three separate occasions this season.
Down 4-0, the herd did not do much to help their cause, having only taken two shots in the first 45 minutes, both off target.
Veteran goalkeeper Chloe Werle replaced Wilford at halftime and managed to keep the Spartans’ attack subdued for the better part of 35 minutes.
Halftime substitute Brooklyn Tidder rounded off a dominating night for Trinity Western by playing through defender Amy Gartke for an 82nd-minute goal. Tidder then struck at 88 minutes to take the lead to 6-0.
Trinity Western’s frontline produced 30 attempts at goal during the 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the Bisons lacked inspiration in their attack, failing to force a single save out of Spartan keepers Ally Williamson and Rachel Sydor.
The Bisons’ defeat marks their heaviest competitive loss in four years. On that occasion, Manitoba dropped a similar 6-0 game to the Alberta Pandas in the final weekend of the 2011 season.
Despite back-to-back defeats, the herd still occupies third place in the table ahead of the MacEwan Griffins, who have a match in hand.
The Manitoba Bisons return home next weekend to host the Regina Cougars and Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday and Sunday respectively.