After starting the season 4-0 on the road, the Bisons returned to Wayne Fleming Arena for their home opener Thursday, where they dominated the University of Regina Cougars 5-1.
The Bisons got on the board first, as Venla Hovi set up Jordyn Zacharias in front after a battle in the corner. Zacharias was initially stopped by Cougar netminder Jane Kish, but got on the puck during the ensuing scramble, and banged in her first of the year at 11:02 in the first period.
A minute later, the Cougars came up the ice on a 3-on-1 to tie the game. Kylee Kupper snuck a pass by a diving Bison defender, setting up Lilla Carpenter-Boesch for the easy tap-in goal. Bison goalie Rachel Dyck slid across to try and make the save, but gave up her first goal of the season.
Manitoba regained the lead off a slap shot from the right faceoff dot, which went under Kish’s right pad. The goal was Charity Price’s first of the year, with the assists coming from Lauryn Keen and Alexandra Anderson. Anderson almost extended the lead in the final minute, beating Kish blocker side, but not beating the post.
In the second, the Bisons would gain a two-goal margin after the Cougars gave the Bison a 5-on-3 power play advantage. Hovi would get the helper again, with Courtlyn Oswald scoring for her first goal of the season, at 8:48.
Manitoba would go on to add two goals – Alana Serhan’s first of the year and Keen’s fifth – taking the home opener with a dominant 5-1 victory.
Eight different Bisons players found their name on the scoresheet by the end of the game which speaks to the depth in the Bison lineup.
“Depth is huge when you’re missing your top two forwards, who are a threat every time they’re out there.” Head coach Jon Rempel said post-game. “They went out there and moved it around. It’s how we have to play.”
The Bisons look to stay perfect in their rematch against Regina tomorrow, 7pm at Wayne Fleming Arena.