The Bison women’s hockey team headed into the CIS National Championships as the number three seeded team, but came up empty in their first two games of round robin play. Relegated to Pool B, the Bisons would play the number five seeded Wilfrid Laurier and number two St. Francis Xavier.
In their first game at nationals, Manitoba took on the tournament host Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. The first period would be a tight one, with both teams getting great chances on net, but it would be the Golden Hawks who would strike first, scoring a late power-play goal to take a 1-0 lead heading into the second. Wilfrid Laurier extended their lead to two in the second, and while the Bisons would get a great give-and-go, two-on-one opportunity, the game would remain 2-0 heading into the third. In the final frame, the Golden Hawks would add two more goals, as Manitoba was held off the scoring sheet in a 4-0 loss.
The next day, the Bisons took on the St. Francis Xavier X-Women. Manitoba scored first, as fifth-year defenceman Chelsea Braun 7:39 into the first period. The X-Women would tie the game 1-1 but the Bisons responded in kind just over a minute later, taking a 2-1 lead heading into the second period. The momentum swung in St. Francis Xavier’s favour in the second frame as the X-Women managed to capitalize on scoring chances twice to taste their first lead of the game, but Manitoba’s alternate captain Addie Miles tied it up with a late goal as the teams went into the final frame tied 3-3. Despite getting several great chances to take the lead, it would be the X-Women who broke the tie at 13:48, a goal that would stand up as the game winner.
After losing their first two games, the Bisons would play against Canada West rival Alberta in the game to determine the fifth and sixth spot rankings. The last time the Pandas and the Bisons played each other, they were playing for the Canada West conference title, with Manitoba celebrating their championship win in Edmonton, a 2-0 series sweep. In the CIS national championship rematch, however, nothing was on the line except bragging rights. Rookie Meagan Vestby, who was excellent against the Pandas in the Canada West final, would score two goals for the Bisons, but Alberta would ultimately prove to be too much for Manitoba to handle as they won handily with a final score of 5-2.
With the loss, the Bisons finish the CIS national championships in sixth place.
Track and Field
This past weekend the Bisons track and field team took part in the 2011 CIS track and field championships, which were held at the University of Sherbrooke, March 10-12.
The Bison men finished in 10th place with 23 points, an improvement from the previous season in which they placed 11th, while the Bison women finished in 20th place with 4.5 points. Team Manitoba had two top-five finishes, including the Bison men’s 4x400m relay team who made it onto the podium, winning the silver medal with a time of 3:19.76.
The team, made up of fourth-year Zacharie Durand, second-year Joel Vankoughnet, rookie Dylan Ostberg and second-year Jamie McMaster, were all named to the CIS Second Team All-Canadians. Save for Durand, it was the first CIS track and field podium appearance for all members of the 4x400m team.