The Bison women’s hockey team completed their sweep of the Regina Cougars on Saturday, January 17 in decisive fashion, laying a 6-1 thumping on the road weary visitors, at Wayne Fleming Arena.
First-year forward Alanna Sharman finished with a hat trick, and her line mates Maggie Litchfield-Medd and Alana Serhan rounded out the rest of the scoring with one and two goals respectively. The top line for Manitoba steamrolled the Cougars, generating chances seemingly at will.
“They just moved the puck so well today,” said Manitoba head coach Jon Rempel of his top line. “They have good chemistry, they work hard, and they aren’t selfish, and that I think is what makes them click.”
At first, it seemed the story of the game would be the play of Regina’s defense. In the first period, the defensive group for the Cougars moved the puck and skated well, prevented Manitoba from getting any really good looks at the net, and scored the game’s opening goal, courtesy third year veteran defenseman Alexis Larson.
That goal, a low shot that found its way all the way through traffic and snuck through the five hole of Bison goalie Amanda Schubert, was the only puck to elude the Bison goaltender all day. Schubert finished with 20 saves.
The game story changed dramatically in the second period, when the top line for the Bison took over. They put five goals into the cage behind Jennifer Schmidt of Regina, and chased her from the game. Her replacement, Toni Ross, fared better, but still could not prevent Sharman from capping off the hat trick in the third period.
“You could see them getting tired in the second period,” said Rempel of the Cougars, applauding his team’s effort in limiting the quickness of Regina’s defense. “That was where the game was won and lost. They didn’t have nearly the breakout opportunities they did yesterday.”
“We were okay in the first period today, but I thought we were kind of sleepy in certain ways. After that first goal, we smelled blood.”
The game was marked by plenty of physical play and lots of power plays each way. Bodies flew all over the ice from both teams, and there was no shortage of body checking. The difference lay in the Bison making the Cougars pay for their mistakes. Three of their five second-period goals game with a five-on-four advantage, and on those advantages the Bison moved the puck with confidence, forcing Regina to chase their own tails at times.
In the end, Manitoba’s offense was too much for the Cougars, who gained only one point from their trip into Manitoba. Sharman and her line mates were given all three stars of the game.
The Bison will resume play next weekend on the road in Saskatchewan. The win moves Manitoba to 14-7 on the season, while Regina drops down to an even .500 at 10-10 so far this year.