Written by: Ryan Stelter
WINNIPEG – On Saturday, February 20, the University of Manitoba Bison men's hockey team clashed with the Calgary Dinos in game two of the Canada West conference quarter-finals. The Bisons held a 1-0 series lead from Friday and were looking to finish the sweep on Saturday. The Dinos forced a decisive game three with a 2-1 win.
A close, hard fought physical battle between the two teams saw the Dinos edge past the Bisons to live to fight another day. A marvelous performance in net from Calgary goaltender Steven Stanford saw him make 34 saves in the winning effort.
"We ran out of time," Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said post game, "It was a great playoff game, both teams played well."
The first period was a scoreless affair, with the home side dictating the pace of the game. The Bisons were able to outshoot the Dinos 10-6. Manitoba was able to establish their forecheck in the early going and generated a lot of chances.
Stanford had to stand tall on a couple of occasions, stymieing Shaq Merasty from the slot early in the frame. Bison rookie defenseman also had a shot ring off the post after a great feed from Brett Stovin.
Bison goalie Justin Paulic also made some key stops at the end of the period to keep the scores level at zero.
A hard hitting fast paced second period saw both teams generate great chances, including a point-blank save from Paulic on Dino forward Dylan Walchuk. Several bone crunching hits were delivered in the second, with Adam Kambeitz terrorizing the herd with some great hits on the forecheck. He was later kicked out of the game after receiving a gross misconduct.
The second period saw the first breakthrough at the 18:03 mark with the Dinos getting their first lead of the series. A seeing-eye pass from the third year Dino forward Chris Collins found Elgin Pearce at the back post who tapped the puck home.
Calgary picked up right where the left off in the third period when 16 seconds in Pearce got his second of the game and third of the playoffs after he had his shot from the slot go off Paulic's arm and bounce into the net.
The Bisons would get on the board nine minutes into the third on the powerplay via the stick of Stony Mountain product Stovin who did the easy job of finishing off a great passing play between Jordan DePape and Henry.
A flurry of pressure from the Bisons came in the dying embers of the game with the Bisons all over the Dinos, with Stanford standing his ground. The Dinos did a great job of getting into the shooting lanes and blocking shots.
"We had plenty of opportunities with the goalie pulled late in the game," Sirant said, "That's the way it goes, we knew going in that this series would most likely go to three games."
The Bisons and the Dinos play the third and final game of the Canada West quarter-finals at the Wayne Fleming Arena on Sunday, February 21 at 3 p.m. CT.
MAN: Brett Stovin (1G), Adam Henry (1A), Jordan DePape (1A)
CGY: Elgin Pearce (2G), Cain Franson (2A)