Justin McCaffrey, Mount Royal Sports Information
CALGARY – The Manitoba Bisons extended their 2016-17 season with a 3-2 road win over the Mount Royal Cougars Saturday night at Flames Community Arenas. Shaq Merasty scored the game winner with 4:24 left in the third period to extend the series to a third and deciding game.
Saturday's game had a decisively different feel from the first one. The play was extremely choppy at both ends of the ice as neither team could muster a quality scoring chance in the early going.
Tanner Olstad took a high-sticking penalty, 6:32 into the period, putting Manitoba on the power play. The Bisons had a difficult time gaining entry into the zone with the Cougars' penalty killers all over them. Shortly after, Mount Royal had a power play of their own but much like their counterparts, they came up empty.
After a scoreless first period, Rene Hunter, Manitoba's lone goal scorer from last night, opened the scoring in the second. After the puck sailed high over the goal, Cam Lanigan fell back and stumbled in the Cougars crease. Hunter wisely fired the puck on goal from a bad angle. Still trying to regain his footing, Lanigan stumbled and found the puck in the net behind him, giving Manitoba their first lead of the series.
Matt Brown got the goal back on the power play at 10:28. The puck came to Jesse Lees at the point and the rookie defenceman let a wrist shot go through bodies, towards the goal. Brown, the fifth-year veteran, got his stick on the puck and tipped it top shelf past Spriggs.
Three minutes later the Cougars took the lead for the first time in the game. A hard working shift by the third line, created fits for the Bisons' defenders. David Stephens did some great board work and got the puck to Jamie King who was covering the point for a pinching defender. King let a soft wrist shot go towards the net, looking to head off the ice. Zack Henry wisely got his stick on the puck and slowed it down even more. The change in speed fooled Spriggs and the puck curled between his pads.
Manitoba tied the game with just over ten minutes to go in regulation. Shaq Merasty got the puck over to Justin Augert who buried the game-tying goal. The Manitoba goal came on just their 13th shot of the night.
With time winding down in the period, Tanner Olstad took a five-minute major for high-sticking Bisons captain Jordan DePape and the Bisons made them pay. The puck dribbled into the high slot and was corralled by Shaq Merasty. Merasty spun and fired, blowing it by Lanigan to give the Bisons the lead back.
Forced to play the remainder of the game shorthanded, the Cougars were unable to mount a comeback and the Bisons took the game 3-2 to even the series at one game apiece.
The Cougars and Bisons will play the third and final game of the series tomorrow night at Flames Community Arenas. The scheduled puck drop is set for 7:00pm MST.