Written by: Ryan Stelter
WINNIPEG – On Sunday, February 21 the University of Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team faced off against the Calgary Dinos for the third and final game of their Canada West quarter-final series. The Dinos knotted the series at 1-1 on Saturday with a 2-1 win to force this to a decisive game three. Calgary would complete the comeback and cruise past the Bisons with a 6-1 win and eleiminate Manitoba from the playoffs.
A third period explosion of four goals by the Dinos was enough to finish off the Bisons. With the win, the Dinos have now won three out of the last five playoff series against the Bisons. The last time the Bisons beat the Dinos in the playoffs was in the 2004-05 season.
"Calgary is a very good, experienced playoff team," Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said after the game, "We're not, we're a very young team but all of our guys are eligible to come back next year, no one else in the league can say that."
After a couple good first shifts for the Bisons, they found themselves in penalty trouble early on in the first. A problem that would effectively end their season, as the Dinos manage to score three goals on the powerplay on Sunday.
Manitoba took two penalties within the first six minutes and with Jonah Wasylak off for tripping the Dinos made them pay. A Connor Walchuk point shot gave Spencer Edwards a chance to flick the puck upstairs on Bison goalie Justin Paulic, who was making his third start in as many nights.
The Dinos would strike again on the powerplay with six minutes remaining in the opening frame. Chris Collins fired a cross crease pass from the corner to Edwards who was waiting at the back door to get his second of the night and fourth of the playoffs.
The home team found themselves reeling as they headed into the dressing room, down 2-0 and being outshot 12-5.
The Bisons would cut into the Dinos lead at the 4:28 mark of the second period when Jordyn Boyd fed a nice pass to Justin Augert on the rush who tapped home his first of the playoffs through the legs of Steven Stanford.
Manitoba would continue the pressure throughout the period, with Jesse Paradis ringing one off the crossbar and Stanford having to make an excellent toe save on Bison rookie Brett Brooks. The Bisons only managed the lone goal and still found themselves down going into the break.
Sirant commented post game about the Bisons good second period.
"That was the best hockey we played all year," he said, "That was an outstanding period, we just couldn't find a way to put the puck in the net."
Calgary would find themselves on the powerplay 27 seconds into the third period with Jordan DePape was off for high sticking. The Dinos would restore their two goal lead when hot hand Elgin Pearce had his shot beat Paulic. A couple minutes later, the Dinos would make it 4-1 after Collins picked up his own rebound and beat Paulic from a sharp angle.
Things would only get worse for the home side, as Dino defenseman Dylan Busenius sent Pearce on a breakaway where he fired home his second of the night and fifth of the playoffs. The Dinos would rub salt in the wound when a Brooks Myers point shot slid under the pad of Paulic.
Stanford was solid again for the Dinos, as he made 23 saves in the victory. He only allowed two goals in the final two games of the series.
Bisons co-captain DePape talked post game about the mentality his team had during the game.
"When we got down we stayed positive, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel," he said, "Calgary is a good team, they're hard working and they're physical."
The Calgary Dinos head off to Saskatoon to play the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Canada West semi-finals. First Puck drops on Friday, February 26 at 7 PM CT.
MAN: Justin Augert (1G), Jordyn Boyd (1A), Jonah Wasylak (1A)
CGY: Spencer Edwards (2G), Dylan Walchuk (2A), Cain Franson (2A), Chris Collins (1G, 1A)