This weekend the seventh-ranked University of Manitoba women’s hockey team played their final series of the 2016 calendar year against the Mount Royal Cougars at home. The Bisons dominated on Friday night, claiming a 4-0 win, but fell on Saturday with a score of 5-3. The Bisons now head into the winter break 11-4-0-1, good for second in Canada West.
The Bisons were back home at Wayne Fleming arena Friday night against the Cougars. The pace of the game was fast from the drop of the puck, but penalty troubles sank the visitors as the Bisons took the game 4-0.
The Bisons were the first to get on the board, with Jordyn Zacharias recording her third of the season at the 14-minute mark. The puck was cycled down low to Nicole McGlenen, who put a pass down the goal line to Zacharias who was waiting in front. She put the puck past Cougars goaltender Emma Pincott to give the Bisons the 1-0 lead.
Four minutes into the second, Kate Hufnagel of Mount Royal took a holding penalty to give the Bisons the opportunity to extend their lead to two. Venla Hovi sent the puck cross-ice to Erica Rieder, who was waiting just above the right faceoff dot. Rieder hammered a one-timer, putting the puck top corner over Pincott’s glove.
The Bisons lead grew larger in the third, once again on the power play. Jayden Skoleski sent a pass to Karissa Kirkup in the high slot. Kirkup got past a Cougars defender, and ripped a wrist shot from the slot. The puck went top shelf on Pincott, giving the Bisons a 3-0 lead. Kirkup struck again minutes later, another goal on the power play to put the Bisons up 4-0.
The 4-0 margin held as the Bisons cruised to a dominant shutout victory over the Cougars. A wide shot margin told the story of this game, with Manitoba out-chancing Mount Royal by 25-12.
“There’s some consistency there, there’s some confidence,” Bisons head coach Jon Rempel said regarding the team’s power play. “Teams clearly respect our power play.”
Following their 4-0 win over the Cougars Friday night, the Bisons took the ice to try and head into the break with a series sweep. The game was a back-and-forth affair, but ultimately Mount Royal came out on top 5-3
The Bisons controlled the game through most of the first period, but it was Mount Royal who opened the scoring in odd fashion. A shot by Rachel Piitz bounced off Devonie Deschamps, then the skate of a Bison defender to send it in the air. The puck flew over the head of Amanda Schubert who spun around to try and grab it, but was unsuccessful.
After heavy pressure saw a platoon of Cougars skaters stuck on the ice for nearly four minutes, Manitoba finally evened the score. A Mount Royal clearing attempt was blocked by Zacharias, who settled the puck and beat two defenders to get in all alone on Zoe DeBeauville. Zacharias deked right, putting the puck on her backhand and slid it under the Mount Royal goaltender’s pad.
Mount Royal snagged the lead again with three minutes left to play in the second off a point shot by Mairi Sorensen. The shot went past a couple defenders and over Schubert’s right shoulder.
The Cougars only needed 57 seconds to extend their lead in the third on the power play. Shawni Rodeback sent a pass down low to Sorensen who threw the puck in front of the Bisons goal. Sarah Weninger was waiting in front and tipped the puck underneath Schubert to give Mount Royal a two-goal lead.
Hovi responded for the Bisons two minutes later. She fought off a defender, putting a backhand shot under the arm of DeBeauville to cut the Mount Royal lead down to 3-2.
Alexandra Anderson evened things up for the Bisons on the power play. She stepped forward, putting a wrist shot low right on the Cougars’ goal, and tied the game 3-3.
The Mount Royal lead was restored by Gabrielle Seper on a penalty shot. Seper used a shimmy move to get Schubert to bite and tucked home the goal. Mount Royal added an empty net goal, and took game two of the weekend series 5-3.
“We needed to play a full 60 minutes today and I don’t think we did that,” assistant coach Sean Fisher said of his team’s effort. “We’ve been going hard since August. We could use the rest mentally.”
The Bisons will be back Jan. 6-7 to take on the University of Regina Cougars on the road.