Written by: Rob Mahon
The Manitoba Bisons women's hockey and the number four-ranked University of British Columbia Thunderbirds needed extra time on Friday, November 21 at Wayne Fleming Arena before a winner emerged.
Alanna Sharman scored the winner on a five-on-three power play in overtime, sneaking a wrist shot past UBC goalie Samantha Langford, who was tough to beat all night. Meanwhile, for the Bisons, goalie Rachel Dyck stood tall in net, allowing just one goal as the Bisons pulled out a 2-1 win.
Asked about the play of Sharman, his leading scorer, Bisons head coach John Rempel couldn't help but crack a smile.
"How many superlatives do you want?" he asked by way of comment about his first year star.
"She's a special player," he added. "You don't get many players like her that have that kind of hockey sense, offensive ability and ability to make others around her better. She doesn't play like a first year player."
Rempel also praised his team's defensive effort against the prolific power play of the UBC Thunderbirds.
"They're a team that's going to get chances because they have a lot of skilled players who can shoot," said Rempel. "They're a big physical team who goes hard to the net. We handled it pretty well."
The Thunderbirds made the Bisons work for every inch of the ice, forcing them to really earn the victory. The Bisons got the first goal of the game in the third period, on a redirection by captain Maggie Litchfield-Medd, but the Thunderbirds replied right away with a deflection goal of their own and almost won it in regulation when a shot from the line went through traffic and rang off the crossbar.
Goalie Rachel Dyck was tested often by a fast-moving UBC squad, who made her make several key saves through traffic and off of goalmouth scrambles. With a little help from her defense, Dyck was able to keep all but one puck out of the net.
In the end, undisciplined play cost UBC dearly. They took two penalties in overtime, and Sharman made them pay just twelve seconds after the second of the two.
If UBC wants revenge, however, they won't have to wait long for a chance at it. These two teams will meet again less than 24 hours later, on Saturday November 22 at Wayne Fleming arena once again, with a 6 p.m. local time start.