Bisons sweep Cougars in crucial series

Courtlyn Oswald of the Bison women's hockey team.Courtlyn Oswald of the Bison women's hockey team.

This weekend the fourth-ranked University of Manitoba women’s hockey team looked to keep rolling, with a series against the University of Regina Cougars. Manitoba battled hard, taking the series with a sweep at home.

Manitoba now holds a 7-3 record and sits in second place in the Canada West, a single point back of the first-placed University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

Friday

The first game of the weekend was all Manitoba. The home side was running on all cylinders, and despite some key injuries came out with a 4-0 shutout win.The Bisons jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening moments. A misplay behind the net by Cougars goaltender Morgan Baker landed on the stick of Jordyn Zacharias. Baker tried to get back but Zacharias was able to flip the puck by Baker for her fourth of the season.

Zacharias scored again early in the second frame. Megan Neduzak threw a pass from the side boards to the high slot for a waiting Zacharias, who ripped a shot on goal. The laser went past Baker’s glove and into the top corner for a 2-0 Bisons lead.

Lauryn Keen extended Manitoba’s lead at the end of the middle frame sending a shot on goal from an odd angle, the puck bouncing off Baker and in.

Sheridan Oswald added another for the herd with five minutes to go in the game. She picked up an outlet pass and broke into the zone all alone. Fighting off multiple Regina defenders, she got the puck on net. The puck took an odd bounce into the net to make the game 4-0 Bisons.

Despite a number of great scoring opportunities for Regina, the Bisons shut the door, taking Friday’s game 4-0. Rookie goalie Lauren Taraschuk made 20 saves in the game to pick up her second straight shutout of the season.

“It’s been tough coming in as a rookie and not really expecting to play much really,” Taraschuk said. “But getting the opportunity and giving it all I have is good to come out with another win.”

Saturday

The second game of the weekend series was a more back-and-forth affair, with both teams controlling the game at different points. The Bisons capitalized on back-to-back powerplay opportunities late in the game, taking the 2-1 win and sweeping the Cougars.

The game was scoreless until the second when Regina’s Tamara McVannel broke the deadlock. After controlling the pace of play for most of the second frame, McVannel snuck a shot below the pad of Taraschuk to make it 1-0 Cougars. This ended Taraschuk’s shutout streak at 147:08.

From there, the game went back to a deadlock until a scary scene unfolded. Alexandra Anderson was checked into the stanchion, forcing her to leave the game for which Martina Maskova was assessed a game misconduct. This, along with an earlier penalty, put the Bisons on a 5-on-3.

Erica Rieder tied the game on the powerplay, ripping a shot from the high slot that snuck by Regina goaltender Jane Kish .

Courtlyn Oswald played the hero for the Bisons, taking a cross-ice pass from Alana Serhan and burying the puck with 30 seconds left to lift the Bisons over the Cougars 2-1.

“I definitely thought I did not play as well as I did yesterday, so I was happy that I could contribute with that goal in the end,” Oswald said. “Sometimes you have games like that and you have to do the little stuff right and help out in that way.”

 

Manitoba hosts the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns at the Wayne Fleming Arena on Nov. 17-18.