Mike Still, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG — A five goal second period helped lift the No. 9 Calgary Dinos (10-4-1) to a victory over the Manitoba Bisons (2-12-1) on Friday night at Wayne Fleming Arena.
It was a well-balanced showing from the visitors, with seven different players finding the back of the net, while Dinos netminder Matthew Greenfield stopped 11 saves for the shutout.
"We didn't compete," Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said of his team's middle frame performance.
"The first period wasn't bad, we took too many penalties but we fought our way though those kills and did what we wanted to do on penalty killing, but the second period we just didn't compete."
The Bisons took three penalties — including a ten minute misconduct call for a check to the head — within the first ten minutes of play in the opening period, which resulted in heavy zone time for Calgary. They would outshoot the hosts 15-4 overall in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Forward Tim Vanstone had a number of excellent chances to open the scoring in the first six minutes for the visitors, including three cracks from the doorstep, however Manitoba goalie Dasan Sydora — who made a multitude of critical saves in the first frame — flashed his left pad to keep the score level.
Calgary would open the scoring with 7:58 to go, however, as forward Josh Uhrich received a tremendous lead pass from his team's goal line and proceeded to go backhand past Sydora.
Manitoba struggled to maintain a consistent forecheck but did have some solid chances. Their best opportunity to get on the board came on an interception from forward Jonah Wasylak in the Calgary slot with two minutes to go, however Greenfield made the stop with his blocker.
The Dinos blew the game wide open in the second period with four goals within the first ten minutes of play and five overall, capitalizing on extensive zone time and a few costly Manitoba turnovers.
Forward Coda Gordon would make the score 2-0 at 3:03, as he picked up a loose puck and beat Sydora with a quick shot from the slot. Defenceman Dane Gibson would add to Calgary's lead just over a minute later, beating a partially screened Sydora.
Forward Bradley Schoonbaert would then go five-hole with 10:38 to go, battling two players down low, and Ryan Graham would chase Sydora from the net 22 seconds later, picking off a pass and going top shelf.
The Dinos would complete their second period flurry with Riley Sheen's conference-leading 12th goal on a shot from the slot with 1:25 to go.
"Our second periods this year haven't been great, but we finally pieced together a second period and that was big for our group," Calgary alternate captain Cain Franson said.
"A big key for us was we just kept it simple. We didn't do anything fancy in the neutral zone, we just got the puck deep past their D and made them play defence more than offence."
Manitoba's two best chances to find the back of the net came early on, as forward Nick Zajac broke in on an odd-man rush two minutes in but was stopped by the blocker of Greenfield. Defenceman Lucas Skrumeda would have an excellent chance right after, however his shot went off the crossbar.
The Bisons were the aggressors to begin the third period, generating a flurry of chances while also getting a powerplay opportunity. Forward Devon Skoleski had an excellent chance just over three minutes in as he had a wide open look from the left slot, however the puck bounced just past him.
Manitoba took a five-minute major just under halfway through the period though, and Calgary would capitalize, as forward Regan Nagy completed the scoring, banking a shot off Bisons goalie Byron Spriggs and in.
The two teams will be back at it tomorrow at 2 p.m.