Written by Jesse Blackman
WINNIPEG – The #5 University of Manitoba Bisons shutout the Mount Royal Cougars in women's hockey, Saturday, February 18 at Wayne Fleming Arena in game two of the Canada West Quarter-final best-of-three series. With the home win, Manitoba sweeps the series after winning 5-1 in game one on Friday
The game was a scoreless nail-biter until later in the third when the Bisons capitalized on a slick offensive play and checkmate Mount Royal.
With the Bisons sweep of the series, they will move on the face the #6 University of Alberta Pandas in the next round.
"[The Bison's] committed to the process, patient, and stuck to the game plan the whole way – fore-checking, pucks deep, wearing them down, puck possession" said Bison head coach Jon Rempel, "it's the way you have to play play-off hockey."
The best scoring chance of the first two periods came late in the second. The Bison's Alanna Sharman was thwarted by a slick defensive play from Mount Royal's Cylenna Alexander.
At 8:18 into the third, Alana Serhan scored the lone goal for the Herd and the contest. Erin Kucheravy's seeing-eye pass caught goaltender Zoe Debeauville out of position sliding to her catcher side, too late to make the save. Bison captain Caitlin Fyten picked up the second assist.
The goal caused a surge in the game's intensity; the Cougars went on a heavy offensive.
With 2:40 in the game remaining, Bison Cassandra Taylor put the visitors shorthanded with a hooking penalty taken in her defensive corner. Only 19 second into the penalty Alexandra Anderson was called for minor for head contact after she dumped Sarah Weninger in front of Rachel Dyck.
On the 5-on-3 advantage the Cougars pulled their goalie for the extra attacker and a rare 6-on-3 opportunity to finish the game. With all the pressure in the Bison end, Lauryn Keen helped preserve the win with two huge shot blocks.
On Dyck's eight save performance in the third, Rempel said "to have the presence of mind, and the confidence, and the sticktoitiveness to make a couple of those saves late in the game just shows you where her development is at as a goaltender. She can will this team to do whatever it needs to do."
Final shots for the game were 12 on Dyck and 16 on DeBeauville.
With 15 saves, Debeauville earned third star honours despite the loss. Manitoba's Dyck was named the second star with the shutout. Serhan was awarded first star for her stellar offensive effort and game winning goal.
Manitoba travels to Edmonton to take on the #6 Alberta Pandas in the semifinals next week, February 24-26, with game times at 3 p.m. CT.