Hailey Dirk, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - On Saturday afternoon, the Mount Royal Cougars and the Manitoba Bisons faced off for the second day in a row at the Flames Community Hockey Arenas, with the Cougars coming in after breaking their losing streak with a 6-1 victory against the Bisons the day before.
The score concluded at 4-2 for the Cougars. After a head-start from the Cougars, the Bisons swiftly caught up, and the teams battled it out at a tie until the Cougars again stepped ahead in the second period, and sealed their win in the third.
Cougars head coach, Bert Gilling, said the Cougars' game plan was to come out on top right off the bat. After the big win for the Cougars, they were expecting "a response from the Bisons. Because of the Bison's potential push-back," he continued "We are preparing to start a good game within the first five minutes."
The Bisons, sticking with Gilling's predictions, came out of the puck drop with a clear shot on Cougars net saved by goalie Colin Cooper. The Cougars pushed back and the game didn't lean into either team's favour until nearly halfway through the first period, when the Cougars got the first goal of the game with a shot from forward Connor Chartier.
The Bisons replied swiftly as Sean Christensen roofed his backhander, and the game was tied. This 1-1 tie lasted until the second period. Tensions were high and Cougars forward Connor Rankin was knocked hard into the boards by a hit that left him bleeding on the ice and the Bisons' were given a five-minute penalty. MRU peppered Dasan Sydora who was up to the task until a shot from Cougars' player Chris Gerrie brought the Cougars up to 2-1.
In the third, the game again idled until back-to-back slapshots from Cougars forwards Hunter Zandee and Brad Kennedy both found their way past Sydora, bringing the Cougars up to 4-1 with only minutes left in the third period. Those two late goals helped the Cougars sweep the Bisons, even after Manitoba's Taylor Green scored a consolation goal with 11 seconds left.
The Booster Juice Players of the Game were Jesse Lees from the Cougars and Zach Franko from the Bisons. The Cougars will next play inner-city rivals, the Calgary Dinos on Nov. 9. The Bisons, in turn, will play the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Nov. 9.