Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG — After a battle in the second period, the Mount Royal Cougars held the game in the third to secure a 5-2 road win against the Manitoba Bisons on Friday night (Jan. 11) at Wayne Fleming Arena.
The Bisons entered the second period down by three, but managed to capitalize on two 5-on-3 opportunities to head into the third down by just one goal. In the third, a series of two empty-netters drove up the score for the Cougars.
"I was happy that we got the win out of all of that. It got a little messy and a little ugly there in the second period," said Cougars head coach Bert Gilling. "The third period was a real test of getting the game back and sticking with it."
The only scoring in the third saw two empty-net goals for the Cougars. Riley Lindgren tallied the first empty-netter for Mount Royal, quickly followed by another from Hunter Zandee.
With the win, Mount Royal's record improves to 10-5-4 and pushes their win streak to three straight. Manitoba's record moves to 3-14-2. The Bisons chocked 31 shots on net, almost matching the Cougars' 32.
Late in the second, one of the home team's best shifts of the night didn't result in any tallies for the Herd. Shortly after, Brad Kennedy broke out of his end, motored down the ice on a breakaway and sunk a goal off a straight shot, pushing the score to 3-0 for the visitors.
A penalty for the Cougars at 14:33 put them on their second penalty kill of the night. A Jesse Lees four-minute high sticking penalty got the Bisons on their first 5-on-3 of the night. The home team's first goal of the night quickly followed, a sweet power play slapshot from the point by Zach Franko sailed past Riley Morris' pads and proved why Manitoba is fourth in the league on power play. Adam Henry and Keaton Jameson each secured an assist on the goal.
With just 39 seconds left in Mount Royal's four-minute penalty, another penalty – this time, a too many men call for the visitors. Manitoba wasted no time with this — Franko netted a second goal off a pass by Henry just eight seconds into the 5-on-3 opportunity, sending the Cougars into the third up by just one (3-2).
In the first, Zandee seamlessly sniped a wrist shot just above Byron Sprigg's left shoulder with just over ten minutes left in the first, throwing the first point of the game onto the scoreboard. David Stephens assisted, the score moving to 1-0 for Mount Royal.
With just over five minutes left in the first, Chris Gerrie and Colton Kroeker sailed up the ice on a three-on-two. Kroeker caught a pass from Zack Henry and tossed it to Gerrie who, after a little maneuvering, successfully deked Spriggs out, and sealed the deal for the Cougars on a 2-0 lead heading into the second.
These two teams have played a weekend matchup against each other once already this season. How'd it go? At home, Mount Royal swept Manitoba.
Manitoba's focus for tomorrow? Playing the whole game equally.
"[We're talking a] 60-minute game. I'm ready to compete right from the beginning. That's the message," said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant.
Both teams will face each other again Saturday afternoon. Puck drops at 2:00 p.m. CST and will be available to stream live online at CanadaWest.TV.