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The University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team split a two-game series against the University of Alberta Pandas Nov. 26 and 27, winning game one 2-1 and losing game two 2-0.

The Bisons got off to a shaky start in game one. On a delayed penalty, the Bisons were looking to regroup in their neutral zone with the net empty.Unfortunately for the herd, the pass back was sent about two feet wide of the defender’s stick and into the empty net, giving the Pandas a 1-0 lead.

In the second period, the Bisons evened the score. On the power play, Bison forward Halle Edwards took a pass on the goal line and drove far side on Panda goalie HalleOswald, evening the score 1-1.

The Bisons began to take over early in the third period. Seven minutes into the frame, third-year forward Vanessa Klimpke intercepted a Panda clearing attempt and quickly slipped it to her line mate Molly Kunnas. The Bison forward made no mistake, burying it past a sprawling Oswald to give the Bisons a 2-1 lead.

The herd maintained possession, playing much of the period in the Pandas’ end, holding them to only seven shots.

The Pandas launched a late-game attack by pulling the goalie in the final seconds but were unable to mount a comeback, losing its fourth game in a row.

With the win, the Bisons tied the first-place Mount Royal University Cougars with 16 points apiece. Considering the herd played a condensed exhibition schedule that only included two games against a team at the U Sports level, Bison coach Jon Rempel has been pleased with how his team started this season.

“With a young team like this, we don’t have a lot of volume of games. We hardly played an exhibition, so you know we’re just trying to make our way week to week,” said Rempel.

“Today was[…] probably the most complete game this season. I just really like the way we played today.”

Selected to represent Canada at the 2021 FISU Winter Universiade, Rempel will be travelling to Lucerne, Switzerland alongside women’s hockey captain Lauren Warkentin, men’s hockey player Colton Veloso and equipment manager Matt Relf. Having previously coached Canada in 2015, Rempel is excited to take part in his second FISU games and is delighted that Warkentin and Relf will also be able to experience the event.

“I’m really happy for Lauren obviously, and happy for Matt […] that they get to experience that,” said Rempel.

“I’ve done it before and I kind of know what to expect but for me I’m just really excited to help the group and help the student athletes have a great experience.”

Preparation for FISU has been a lot of work for Rempel. With the ongoing UMFA strike adding a bit of extra stress to his day-to-day, the last few weeks have been hectic for the coach. A member of UMFA himself, Rempel and his team have been closely following the strike. However, once the puck drops, his players have kept their focus away from the negotiation table and on the ice.

“They’ve done a really good job, we haven’t talked about it much,” said Rempel.

“I am inUMFA, so I’m doing double duty and they understand that it’s not easy for me.So they’ve made it actually very easy for me to come here by just being prepared, and they understand the situation so they’re handling it verymaturely.

Game two was a physical affair for both teams. Tight checking between the teams kept the score 0-0 throughout the first period and much of the second.

The Bison forwards had a tough time entering the Pandas’ zone. The Panda defenders did an excellent job plugging up the middle ice, applying an effective neutral zone forecheck, helping the Pandas force turnovers and regain puck possession.

Bison goalieKimberley Davidson made her third start of the season for the herd. The Bison athlete of the week for Nov. 21 was kept busy throughout the game, facing 20shots in the first two periods and stopping numerous breakaways early on to keep her team in the game.

With only seconds left in the second period, the Pandas struck. Taking advantage of a poor Bison line change, Panda forward Jadynn Morden sniped a shot over the shoulder of Davidson to make it 1-0 with less than a second left.

Midway through the third period, the Pandas would make it 2-0. Off a scramble infront, the puck shot out to the right of Davidson, where second-year PandaPayton Laumbach fired it into the wide-open net.

The Bisonsattempted a comeback, pulling Davidson late in the period. They were unable to even the score, giving the Pandas their fifth win of the season.

The Bisons’ series against the Pandas was its last before the winter break. They next play the MacEwan University Griffins Jan. 14 and 15 inEdmonton, Alta.

Posted 
Dec 1, 2021
 in 
Sports
 category

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Matthew Merkel

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