Max Sturley, Dinos Communications Assistant
CALGARY– In the second game in two nights, the University of Manitoba Bisons swept the weekend, winning their fourth straight overall, defeating the University of Calgary Dinos, 2-1, Saturday afternoon, Jan. 28 at Father David Bauer Arena.
Rolling from last night's win, Manitoba found an opening early. Just 20 seconds into the game, Venla Hovi had a clean break away from center ice, only to be denied by Dinos goaltender Kelsey Roberts, something that happened aplenty throughout the game.
Both teams had opportunities on the power play, but were unsuccessful. The Bisons especially had a number of quality looks on the advantage, including a set play for forward Karissa Kirkup. After a series of passes, Kirkup was setup for a one-timer, only to have Roberts slide over and calmly make the save.
The majority of the period was controlled by Manitoba, in which they outshot Calgary 12-4 in a scoreless opening 20.
Starting the second period, just three minutes in, the Dinos opened the scoring in the weirdest of ways.
Defenseman Merissa Dawson, transitioned from neutral ice into the high slot before wristing an arcing shot on Bisons goaltender Rachel Dyck. The puck deflected off the glove before popping up into the air, and coming back down past the red line. For Dawson, she not only opened the scoring, but she also managed the first goal in her U Sports career.
Unfazed, the Bisons controlled the play, and continued to pepper Roberts, who made save after save. Forward Jordan Zacharias, after making a couple moves to find space in the slot, went against the grain, but Roberts stuck out the pad, maintaining the Dinos lead.
Finally, Manitoba solved Roberts. Kirkup started the breakout, before getting the puck back and having a clean breakaway in which she beat Roberts stick side, tying the game.
Just 3 minutes later, the Bisons grabbed the lead. The aforementioned Zacharias parked in the slot, took a pass and fired the puck stick side again past Roberts, as Manitoba grabbed their only power play goal of the game and the 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Roberts continued to get shelled, and she stood tall. Alana Serhan came in on a partial break, but was denied by Roberts, as she closed the wickets on the five-hole try.
Roberts best save of the game came in the late stages of the third, this time on defender Jenai Buchanan. Zacharias, after cutting into the slot, faked the shot before dishing to Buchanan. Waiting backdoor, Buchanan took the pass and fired, right as Roberts reached back with the arm, somehow keeping the puck out.
The Dinos on the other side of the puck, had major trouble generating any offense. With just three shots in the third, the Bisons cruised to the 2-1 victory. The shot count after the final buzzer was 45-11 in favour of Manitoba.
"If you put up a performance anytime like that, it's pretty amazing," said Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette, praising her netminder. "It was ridiculous, the amazing saves. We talk about 45 shots, maybe like 20 of them were amazing saves. I give my hat to her, what a game, because without her, we would have been embarrassed."
Next week, the Bisons will play the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on home ice. The Dinos will play at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Mount Royal University Cougars, in the latest installment of the Crowchild Classic, Thursday, Feb 2, at 5PM.
"It's going to be a great experience for the players and for more than half of the team," said Goyette. "Our job is show Mount Royal that hey, we did not win a lot of games, but we can play with anybody, and that's the message we still have to send."