LETHBRIDGE – Opening the final weekend series of the first semester, the visiting Manitoba Bisons took advantage of two friendly bounces and capitalized on the power play to upend the Lethbridge Pronghorns 3-1.
The win moves the Bisons to the .500 mark at 7-7-1 and move six points ahead of the Pronghorns in the standings. The loss drops the Pronghorns to 4-10-1 but are still only two points behind the UBC Thunderbirds for the final playoff spot.
Brady Pouteau, Devon Skoleski and Jeremy Leipsic scored for the Bisons, while Dalton Sward replied for the Pronghorns.
Holding his team in the game through penalty trouble, Pronghorn goaltender Taz Burman made 35 saves on the night. His counterpart, Tyler Brown, stopped 24 of 25 shots in the win.
Just under four minutes into the opening frame Manitoba opened the scoring on a fortuitous bounce in front. Brady Pouteau’s point shot deflected off a ‘Horns defender in front and past a surprised Burman.
It a relatively tight checking opening 20 minutes, the Pronghorns most dangerous looking opportunity came off a pass. Brooks Maxwell corralled a loose puck and walked towards the Bisons goal and looked to feed a wide-open Josh Borynec but Bison netminder Tyler Brown intercepted the pass with his glove to keep his team up by one.
While the Bisons scored the lone goal of the opening period, the Pronghorns held slight advantage on the shot clock, 11-10.
In the early moments of the second period Borynec nearly tied the score, however his redirection slid just wide of the Lethbridge net.
Aided by three second period power plays, the Bisons held the momentum in the period but couldn’t capitalize until the third opportunity. Walking in from the point, Devon Skoleski’s shot deflected off a Pronghorns stick and passed Burman.
Following the goal, the Pronghorns found themselves in penalty drop again. Following a major penalty to Torrin White, the Pronghorns took two more minors and finished the period on the five-on-three penalty-kill, being forced to start the second with the disadvantage.
Aided by the man advantage for majority of the second half of the period, the Bisons outshot the Pronghorns 15-3 in the period.
Despite killing off the major penalty and one of the minors, the Pronghorns could not kill off the last one. Dylan Thiessen went cross crease to Jeremy Leipsic who buried his fourth of the season into a wide-open cage.
Just passed the midpoint of the third, the Pronghorns finally got on the board while shorthanded. Captain Dalton Sward streaked into the Bison end, driving past a defender and tucked the puck around Brown for hist first of the season.
The Pronghorns pulled the goaltender for over three minutes late in third but were not able to cut any further into the Bisons lead.
The Pronghorns will look to rebound Saturday afternoon in the final game of the first semester for both teams. Puck drop is slated for 1PM at Nicholas Sheran Arena. The game will also be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv
, presented by Co-op.