This weekend, the University of Manitoba Bisons men’s hockey team took on the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in a two-game series. The Bisons won 3-2 on Friday, and the Thunderbirds won by the same score on Saturday.
Manitoba is now 3-3 on the year and sits in fifth place in the Canada West.
Friday night was the first game of the two-game series at the Wayne Fleming Arena. The Bisons wanted to keep the momentum from a weekend sweep against yegina going, and UBC was desperate for a win as they came into the contest with a 1-5 record. The Bisons did not help the Thunderbirds in the win column, handing them their sixth loss of the season with a 3-2 win.a
The first period was a tale of two halves, as the Bisons dominated, generating a lot of pressure and keeping the T-Birds hemmed into their own zone. They were not rewarded for their efforts, however, as some late penalties from the herd halted their momentum.
On their second power play of the night, UBC made the Bisons pay after a wicked shot from Anthony Bardaro flew over Byron Spriggs’ shoulder from the top of the circle. Despite a good opening frame from the herd, the away team held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Manitoba found their shooting gloves in the second, as 38 seconds after the break Jordan DePape was left alone in front of the net and he made no mistake to even the score. A few minutes later, Justin Augert had the puck fall to him at the side of the net and flicked it over Matt Hewitt.
“That was a great start to the period for us,” Bison head coach Mike Sirant said postgame. “The guys responded, that really turned the game around in our favour.”
The Bisons added to their lead after Adam Henry rifled a shot over Hewitt’s shoulder on the power play. The second period saw the physicality being ramped up as both Shawn and Brad Bowles threw their weight around, making some huge hits.
In the third, the Thunderbirds were unable to mount much of a comeback with the Bisons playing some great puck possession game in their end. Luke Lockhart had a diving effort in front of the net go in with 13 seconds to go to make it interesting, but the Bisons were able to hold on for a 3-2 win.
DePape, who was recently named captain of the Bisons for a second season, flew around the ice all game. He talked postgame about his team’s performance.
“UBC has a good roster, they got good players so we knew it was going to be a tough game,” he said. “I think we outworked them and came out with the two points.”
The Bisons were back in action on Saturday, looking to sweep another weekend series. The ‘Birds had other plans, however, and managed to get a 3-2 win to get the split.
The Thunderbirds opened up the scoring four minutes into the first on the power play via the stick of Joe Antilla. DePape got his second goal of the series with three minutes left in the period from the stick of Brad Bowles. The T-Birds jumped out in front a minute after, as Austin Vetterl scored to make it 2-1 after 20.
In the second, the Bisons drew even with Quinton Lisoway scoring halfway through the second. The score remained deadlocked at two apiece at the second intermission.
Bardaro grabbed the lead for the Thunderbirds – which ended up being the game-winner – halfway through the third. The Bisons tried to tie the game up but to no avail.
After this weekend, DePape moves into a three-way tie for the top scorer of the Bisons with six points in four games, averaging 1.5 points a game in this young Canada West season.
The Bisons head out on the road to play the Calgary Dinos next in a two game series on Nov. 4-5.