The University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team hosted the Regina Cougars last weekend recording a 2-1 loss and 1-0 win on Friday and Saturday respectively. The victory improved the Bisons’ record to 2-2 against the Cougars in the season series while Rachel Dyck’s shutout notched the team’s fourth of the campaign thus far.
The Bisons also improve to 9-6-1 in the regular season, maintaining their position with Alberta for the top seed in the Canada West standings.
The puck dropped on the herd’s final weekend series in 2015 on Friday evening at Wayne Fleming Arena. Both sides contributed to an end-to-end first period, where each goaltender stood sharp to preserve a scoreless frame. The Cougars outshot the Bisons 13-11.
The heavy influence of the goalies extended far into the second period. Dyck bailed the Bisons out midway through the frame on a shot from Regina’s Kylie Gavelin. The forward pounced on a loose puck inside the crease only to see Dyck stick out an instinctive left pad to make a game-breaking save.
The Cougars didn’t let up, though. At the 13-minute mark of the second frame, forward Bailey Braden found the net after Dyck was unable to cover a Regina dump-in.
Regina’s lead would not last for long, as the Bisons equalized just 1:06 after falling behind. Venla Hovi fed Courtlyn Oswald on the rush, who picked the corner on the Cougars’ goalie Toni Ross to tie the game. Both sides once again took a level score into the second intermission.
The third period proved to be the difference in the game when Regina retook the lead early in the frame. Jaycee Magwood reaped the rewards of her consistent presence in front of goal and scored the go-ahead goal at the five-minute mark. The freshman forward leads the contest with nine goals on target.
Ross then took the reins for the away side, turning aside all seven shots she faced in the third period. She finished the game with 24 saves on 25 shots for the 2-1 win. Dyck also performed valiantly, producing 31 saves on the night.
The home side took advantage of Saturday’s rematch right from the get-go. Manitoba peppered Ross’s goal with 17 shots in the opening 20 minutes alone. The fifth-year net-minder held her ground and the kept the game scoreless into the first intermission.
The momentum shifted in Regina’s direction as the game entered the second period. The Bisons only managed four shots on goal during the middle frame, compared to the Cougars’ 11. The home side almost scored on an Alexandra Anderson breakaway yet could not beat Ross with mere seconds left on the clock.
The hero of the previous matchup, Jaycee Magwood, eventually led to the Cougars’ downfall after taking a hooking penalty at the 13-minute mark of the third period. Just 1:23 into the ensuing powerplay, defenceman Caitlin Fyten drilled her point shot past Ross and into the top corner for the lead.
For the remainder of the game, Dyck emerged as the standout performer, producing 15 saves in the third period alone. In total, her 34-save effort earned her a second shutout this season to end the 2015 calendar year on a high note.
The Manitoba Bisons will hit the ice again in January, visiting the first-place Alberta Pandas to kick off 2016 on Jan. 8 and 9.