Following their game one win Friday night, the Bisons took to the ice again against the Mount Royal Cougars. The Bisons played a sound defensive game, and were able to outlast the Cougars for a 1-0 win. With the win, the Bisons sweep the Cougars and move on to the Canada West semi-finals for the third straight year.
The game was quiet through the first 40 minutes, with Bisons goaltender Rachel Dyck only being tested four times across that span. The Bisons were dominant possession-wise at the other end of the ice, turning 12 shots on goal which Cougars goaltender Zoe DeBeauville was able to turn away.
The dam finally burst in the third, with centre Erin Kucheravy opening the scoring for the Bisons. Manitoba winger Alana Serhan entered the Mount Royal zone on the left side, feeding a pass to a streaking Kucheravy. She got enough of the puck on her stick, tapping a back hand shot by DeBeauville for the 1-0 lead.
The Cougars didn’t go down without a fight and the game ended in nail-biting fashion. With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Cassandra Taylor and Alexandra Anderson of the Bisons both took penalties in the defensive zone. Mount Royal pulled their goaltender, giving them a 6-on-3 advantage for two minutes.
Head coach Jon Rempel used a timeout to settle his team and they came out, shutting down the Mount Royal attack. Dyck made key saves for her squad, and the girls in front of her got in the shooting lanes. Lauryn Keen sacrificed the body, taking a stinger off the hand in the dying seconds of the kill.
The offensive side of the game seemed to sputter slightly, a far cry from what fans are used to seeing, however the team pulled through by relying on other aspects of their game.
“I thought this was probably one of the best defensive games I’ve seen out of us in a long time,” Rempel said postgame. “Committed to the process, patience, stuck to the game plan the whole way.”
Dyck had another stellar night in the Bisons net, and despite not being tested often the Winnipeg Beach native stood tall when tested and took home the shutout win.
“To have the mental presence of mind and the confidence, and the sort of ‘stick-to-it-tivness’ to make a couple of those saves late in the game like that just shows you where her development is at,” Rempel said of Dyck. “She can will this team to do whatever it needs to do and I can’t say enough good things about her.”
The Bisons will be back in action for the Canada West semifinals on Feb. 24-26 against the Alberta Pandas in Edmonton.