With a 2-2 record heading into the third weekend of the CIS season, the University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team were hoping to climb up the Canada West standings against Mount Royal. Heading into the matchups at Wayne Fleming Arena, the odds were against the Cougars who were winless in four games and had scored only four goals in that timeframe.
At the Bisons’ expense, Mount Royal notched two away wins – a 1-0 shutout on Friday and a 2-1 comeback on Saturday. The weekend sweep propelled the Cougars above Manitoba in the standings. The herd now sits second last in the Canada West division, having lost three consecutive games.
It took until 5:45 of the third period for the game to see its first and only goal, with Cougars forward Kennedy Bozek capitalizing on a rebound after Bison goaltender Rachel Dyck denied Hali Reardon. Mount Royal was able to hang on from there for their first win of the season.
Much of the credit in the Cougars’ victory could be given to goalie Jess Ross, who turned aside 31 shots for a spectacular shutout performance.
Manitoba had their chances in this game, but they couldn’t beat the iron.
Coming off a hat-trick last weekend, Alanna Sharman snapped a low-blocker shot off the post midway through the second period. Later on, Charity Price lifted a backhand shot in the slot over Ross’s high glove and hit the post for the second time in the period.
Even in defeat, Dyck stood out for the Bisons, making 14 saves and bailing her team from a couple of near-disastrous turnovers in the defensive zone.
Despite their fluidity in the offensive zone, Manitoba was shut out for the second time this season, equaling their entire total for regular season last year.
“I didn’t think we were ready to play tonight. It took us too long to get going,” said head coach Jon Rempel post-game. “As a group we got a little bit out of our game plan and a little frustrated at the end.”
As seen in Friday’s performance, the Bisons and Cougars experienced some disciplinary issues combining for 18 minutes in penalties. Effective powerplay opportunities would play into their second meeting of the weekend as well, which saw both teams opt for a change of goaltenders ahead of the game.
Amanda Schubert replaced Dyck in the Manitoba net, while Mount Royal swapped Friday’s first star Ross for Emma Pincott.
After a scoreless first period, Manitoba broke the deadlock. Alana Serhan notched her first goal of the season on the powerplay, with line-mate Sharman registering her team-leading sixth point.
Eventually, it was penalty trouble which killed the lead and the herd’s momentum. Less than two minutes after trailing, the Cougars capitalized on the powerplay through Rachel Piitz to level the score.
Five minutes into the third period, Manitoba found themselves down five on three, with blue-liners Erin Kucheravy and Erica Rieder in the box. Carley Bertram scored at 15:49 to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Pincott, who impressed by denying Sharman on three separate breakaways, registered 26 saves for Mount Royal’s second win of the CIS season. Manitoba’s Schubert was also sharp, making 26 saves in the loss.
The Manitoba Bisons hit the ice again next week when they visit the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.