Fans got a little bit of everything Saturday in a 5-1 U of M Bisons men’s hockey team win over the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. There were scraps, weird calls, plenty of goals and the Bisons were able to keep the playoff dream alive.
“Before the game we talked about character and professionalism,” Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said.
“The reality is, we still mathematically have a chance to make the playoffs, so let’s rebound today, get these points and go into UBC Friday night.”
The Bisons started the bounce-back game early when Adam Henry picked up a pass from Colton Veloso, circled to the point and snapped a shot into a crowd. The puck flew past Garret Hughson and in off the post for the 1-0 Bisons lead.
Brett Stovin scored to make it 2-0 Manitoba early in the second. From there, the game took an odd turn.
During the celebration, Byron Spriggs was forced to the bench by the referees, sending Dasan Sydora into the goal. Thomas Lenchyshyn intentionally sent the puck out for a whistle the next play, allowing Spriggs to come back.
It was “because Byron went too far out of his net toward the centre line,” Sirant said.
“The referee apologized, [he said] he didn’t want to call it but he had to call it, so we had to do that.”
Spriggs had a slightly different perspective on the play.
“You know what, I should know that by now but yeah I kind of forgot that was a rule,” Spriggs said.
“I broke my stick behind the net playing the puck and I went to just go get a new stick and all of a sudden I saw the refs talking to the coach […] so I guess I’ve got to learn that for future reference.”
Then, with a Jonah Wasylak goal making it 3-0, the game reached a boiling point.
Liam Bilton entered the Lethbridge zone and was clipped up high by Evan Wardley. The referee’s arm went up but the two continued to exchange barbs, eventually erupting into a scrum after the whistle.
At the same time, Manitoba’s Brett Brooks and Lethbridge’s Spenser Jensen got involved in a duel of their own.
When the dust settled, Bilton and Wardley received misconducts while Jensen and Brooks were each dinged with offsetting minors.
A bit of levity came to the game a few minutes later as Veloso potted his first career Canada West goal.
“It was awesome,” Veloso said. “Felt like it took a while but it’s nice to get it out of the way.”
The Winnipeg-born forward joined the herd following the holiday break and added two assists for three points on the night.
From there things stayed at a low simmer. Lethbridge broke the goose egg halfway through the thirdand Stovin scored his second of the night to seal the 5-1 win.
The Bisons head to Vancouver next weekend to take on the UBC Thunderbirds. Puckdrop for game one is 9 p.m. CST on Feb. 1 and 2:30 p.m. CST for game two the next day.