MHKY: Big third period pushes Bisons past Cougars

MHKY: Big third period pushes Bisons past Cougars

U of R Sports Information

REGINA - A four-goal third period helped the Manitoba Bisons to a 5-2 win over the University of Regina men's hockey team at The Co-operators Centre on Friday night. 

Matthew Leblanc, Devon Skoleski, Lucas Skrumeda, Liam Bilton and Nick Zajac scored for the Bisons, who improve to 4-15-2. Mike Eskra and Tristan Frei answered for Regina, as the Cougars fall to 3-17-1.

Byron Spriggs was the winning goaltender, making 27 saves in net for Manitoba. Dawson MacAuley was busy again between the pipes for Regina, stopping 38 shots.

Regina struck first on Friday and the two teams were even through 40 minutes, but two quick goals by the Bisons and two empty-netters were too much for the Cougars to handle.

The Cougars had a goal taken off the scoreboard with just over three minutes left in the first period, as a scramble in front was blown dead by the referee just before Tyler Kreklewich knocked the puck into the back of the net. 

Eskra's goal came halfway through the second period, as Arthur Miller elected to shoot on a two-on-one. Spriggs made the initial save with his pad but Eskra was trailing the play and was the first one to the puck, flipping it home for his first goal as a Cougar.

Leblanc replied less than 90 seconds later, also scoring his first goal with his squad. The rookie forward was sprung in all alone and put a deke on MacAuley before sliding the puck under the goalie's pad with his forehand.

Skoleski's goal came near the midway point of the final period,  as a wrist shot slipped through MacAuley and into the back of the net.  Leblanc and Mackenzie Dwyer picked up assists on Skoleski's fourth. 

Skrumeda added some breathing room for the Bisons shortly after Skoleski's goal as Miller was sent off for a cross-check, sending the Bisons to the powerplay. Skrumeda sent a wrist shot from the point that beat MacAuley, who was heavily screened by traffic in front.

The Cougars got back within a goal on the powerplay late in the third thanks to their captain. Tyler King took a pass on the wing and put a shot on net, but Spriggs got over to make the save. The rebound sat free at the top of the crease and Frei was there to corral it and slide it into the open cage.

Regina had a couple of late chances with MacAuley out of the net, but Spriggs made a nice save on Zach McPhee from the slot before the puck was cleared and Bilton walked it down the ice into the empty net. Zajac added the finishing touches with another empty-net goal shortly after.

The Cougars will look to earn the split against the Bisons on Saturday afternoon, with a 3 p.m. puck drop at The Co-operators Centre.