EDMONTON – It once again took overtime in Game 3, but the University of Manitoba Bisons continued their post-season run with a 4-3 win over the University of Alberta Pandas hockey team, eliminating their inter-provincial rivals in the semifinal.
Kayleigh Wiens, Venla Hovi, Karissa Kirkup and Alexandra Anderson scored for the Bisons, while Amanda Schubert made 13 saves for the win. Sasha Lutz, Megan Eady and Cayle Dillon found the twine for the Pandas.
Just like Game 2 the previous afternoon, the Alberta Pandas would find the scoresheet first. Eady's shot from the right point deflected off a Bison defender, and through Schubert to give Alberta the quick 1-0 lead. The Bisons however, answered right back with a goal of their own just four minutes later. After Courtlyn Oswald's initial shot was kicked out by Lindsey Post, Wiens grabbed the juicy rebound, and flicked it over Post's shoulder, tying the game.
Manitoba found some momentum heading into the second period, taking the lead in the final minutes of the first. Kirkup picked up the puck just outside the Alberta zone, dipsy-doodled through the Pandas defenders, and finished off the highlight-reel goal by sliding the puck through Post's five-hole.
The Bisons, who entered the second leading 2-1, turned up the pressure defensively, smothering the Pandas into just three shots through 30 minutes. Despite being massively outshot, the Pandas found a way to even the game at two's. Lutz found Dillon wide open at the point, and she blew a wrist shot past Schubert' glove.
Not to be outdone, the Bisons retook the lead before the period was up. After Manitoba won the offensive zone faceoff, Hovi grabbed the loose puck in the slot, and wired a shot off the Post and into the Alberta net.
Down by one heading into the third, the Pandas offense picked up the pace, outshooting the visitors 6-2. It would take Alberta over 19 minutes to tie the game, with Lutz beating Schubert with just 13.9 seconds left to send the game into sudden-death overtime, and save their season.
While it took Manitoba five overtime periods to defeat the Saskatchewan Huskies in the quarter-final, it took them just over four minutes in the semifinal to book their ticket to the conference final. After the Bisons earned their first powerplay opportunity of the game, Anderson blew her second goal of the series, ironically from the exact spot as her first, beating Post five-hole with the point shot.
With the dramatic win, the Bisons will now advance to the conference final for the second straight season, and will travel to face either the Regina Cougars or UBC Thunderbirds next weekend.
Connor Hood - Bears and Pandas Athletics