The fourth-ranked University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey club hosted the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns for a pair of weekend games. The Bisons controlled the pace of both games, and despite solid goaltending from the Pronghorns they were able to sweep the weekend series.
The Bisons pelted the Pronghorns goal throughout regulation and into overtime, having complete control of the game, despite a stout performance in goal from Pronghorns’ goaltender Alicia Anderson. Manitoba was finally able to sneak one through in a shootout for a 1-0 win.
Coming into Friday’s game, Anderson was stating her case to be Canada West’s top netminder. She led the conference in save percentage at 0.960 and saves with 378 through 11 games, and it was on full display on Friday night. Anderson stopped all 33 shots fired her way during regulation, while her team only sent 11 towards Bisons goalie Rachel Dyck.
Despite starting the overtime on the penalty kill, the Bisons kept the pressure high. Anderson had to make multiple key stops, including flashing the leather to snag an Alanna Sharman backhand, and then a Jordyn Zacharias shot in the final minute. At the other end, Dyck was rarely tested during the first extra frame.
This trend continued into the second overtime. Lauryn Keen got a great look on a clear breakaway but could not put the game away.
During the shootout, the Bisons finally got one by Anderson. Zacharias came in on the right side, stepped left and put a shot low-blocker on the Lethbridge goaltender. Dyck stopped all three shots she faced in the shootout, and the Bisons took the game 1-0.
“It was a tough game,” Dyck said having only faced 11 shots all game. “I haven’t played in a while so it felt good to get a win, but it was also very lopsided so it was tough to stay in it for the long-haul, but I just found ways to stay focused.”
The Bisons and Pronghorns were back at it Saturday afternoon, with the home team taking the game 2-1 thanks to some heroics by Zacharias.
Lethbridge got on the board first with a goal from Tricia Van Vaerenbergh in the first period. She carried the puck through the neutral zone, entering the Bisons’ zone on the left side with plenty of space. Her wrister from the faceoff circle went top-corner on Dyck’s glove-side.
Manitoba evened things up in the second thanks to Zacharias. Keen passed the puck from the point down low to Sharman, and she threaded the needle to her teammate in the slot. Zacharias got enough wood on it to put the puck high-glove on Anderson.
The goal lifted Zacharias past teammate Venla Hovi for first in Canada West scoring and top in the the conference with six.
Zacharias added her seventh in the final frame to put the Bisons ahead. Sharman sent the puck cross-crease to Zacharias, and she dropped to a knee, lifting the puck over the Lethbridge netminder.
After not being able to score in regulation Friday, the Bisons moved the puck around a little more to beat Anderson Saturday.
“Just moving the puck laterally, trying to get more bodies in front of the net so she can’t see it, making her bite so you can go around,” Zacharias said.
With the sweep this weekend, the Bisons take hold of first place in Canada West with a 9-3 record.
The Bisons will be on the road next week, as they travel to Calgary to take on the Dinos on Nov. 24-25.