For Bisons forward Alanna Sharman, the series against the University of Alberta this weekend meant a little bit more than the points in the standings.
The Winnipeg native was sidelined with a lower-body injury for the first 16 games of the season. Sharman was hurt in a pre-season collision.
After getting in on some exhibition action during the holiday break, she made her regular season debut for the brown and gold Friday.
“The first shift in the exhibition game was pretty nerve-wracking,” Sharman said.
“But after that, it’s fun. It’s hockey right? So I just got back into it and felt pretty comfortable.”
However, coming in against the top team in Canada West did not faze the senior.
“They’re obviously a really good team — being first — but I’ve spent many years battling against them, I know how to play them pretty well,” Sharman said.
“We’re ready, we had a week of practice, we’re rested — I’m rested — and ready to go.”
Sharman had an assist in the first game of Manitoba’s two-game series with Alberta. The herd lost 3-2 but Sharman showed no signs of rust in playing her tenacious, high-pressure style.
She was held pointless the next day in a 1-0 double overtime loss.
Sharman has been skating since October, after a few weeks of rest. From there the wait was on until she got the OK from doctors to rejoin the team.
“I wasn’t medically cleared until December came around,” she said.
“I was ready to go in December, but we only played two games in December so it was after that.”
Sharman’s previous experience with the same injury helped her in the healing process, especially to keep from coming back too soon. She said she “knew how long the recovery would be” and took solace in the fact she would be good to go in the second half.
Being sidelined with her injury gave Sharman a good perspective on how the season has gone for the Bisons.
“It’s been a pretty good year so far. We’ve only lost a few games, we’ve battled and competed pretty well,” she said.
“All the new players that came in are fitting really well with our team and a couple players [who] didn’t get to play last year have stepped up and are doing a really good job.”
The injury also gave Sharman time to focus more on school. She is currently working on a commerce degree, majoring in marketing.
“I planned out my schedule pretty well that I only have to take three [courses],” Sharman said.
When her final season comes to a close in a few months, she will no longer have to meet the three course minimum per term. This will allow Sharman to finish the final two courses of her degree and prepare for the next phase of her education.
“Next year I’m actually applying for my master of science in marketing,” she said.