The U of M Bisons men’s hockey team has not found luck in the new year.
Down 3-0 in the second period to the Mount Royal University Cougars Friday, Manitoba postured for a comeback bid. However, the herd’s charge fell short and the Bisons fell 5-2 on home ice.
The Bisons have now lost three in a row to open 2019.
“You have to play 60 minutes to win a hockey game,” Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said.
Sirant was particularly disappointed with his team’s first period, where they “didn’t get into the rhythm of the game.”
Jesse Lees got the Cougars ahead early in the first, and then Chris Gerrie extended the lead at 14:58.
Colton Kroeker broke into the Bisons zone on the left, drawing two Bisons defenders and leaving Gerrie alone in the slot. Gerrie picked up a pass and snuck a shot low-blocker on Byron Spriggs for the 2-0 Mount Royal lead in the first.
After Brad Kennedy put Manitoba in a three-goal hole to start the second, Zach Franko stepped up for the Bisons.
With a five-on-three advantage, Adam Henry went point-to-point with Franko. Franko then hammered a shot top corner on Riley Morris to make it 3-1 Mount Royal.
Mount Royal took another penalty minutes later to put Manitoba back on the five-on-three. Once again, Henry fed Franko who went shelf on Morris to get the Bisons within one.
Manitoba kept the momentum going and put on the pressure late, pulling Spriggs for a six-on-five. The Cougars pounced with two empty net goals and sealed the game 5-2.
Colton Veloso made his home debut for Manitoba on Friday. The 21-year-old joined the Bisons during the Christmas break and Sirant was positive about his potential impact.
“Colton is a good player,” Sirant said. “He’s got good speed, he’s strong on pucks […] He hasn’t played for a while so it’s going to take him a few games under his belt before he gets the pace of the play [in] Canada West.”
Veloso most recently played with the Jacksonville IceMen of the East Coast Hockey League.
Sirant also provided an update on Bisons captain Brett Stovin — who has been out since late December with an injury — saying the situation is “kind of week by week” but he is healing well.
The Bisons will look to even the score with Mount Royal today at 2 p.m. CST.