By: Mike Still
WINNIPEG – The University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team kept their playoff hosting hopes alive with a 4-3 win on Saturday, February 13 afternoon against the #9 UBC Thunderbirds at Wayne Fleming Arena.
With the victory, Manitoba temporarily moves into a tie with Saskatchewan for fourth place in the standings with 41 points and can host a home playoff contest if the Huskies lose in regulation time.
Special teams were the story of the game, as three of the Bisons four goals – including the game winner by Erica Reider at 6:32 of the third period – were scored with the extra attacker. Overall, the Herd went 3-for-6 while UBC was 1-for-6.
The home side entered the contest as the third most penalized team in the conference, but also had the third best penalty killing rate at just under 92 percent – both came into play on Saturday afternoon.
Each team capitalized on the man-advantage in the opening 20 minutes as UBC went 1-for-3, while Manitoba went 2-for-2 with their third powerplay beginning just as the opening 20 minutes were winding down.Manitoba's first powerplay marker opened the scoring, as Alanna Sharman was gifted with a goal thanks to a clearing pass from Thunderbirds goalie Danielle Dube which went off of Sharman's skate and in at 2:54.
The visitors responded on their first man-advantage just over three minutes later when Mathea FIscher potted a rebound off of a Logan Boyd point shot.
The Bisons successfully killed off two more UBC powerplays and their resolve and effort resulted in their second opportunity with the extra skater just over halfway through the first. Venla Hovi kept the Herd's powerplay percentage at 100 percent when she tapped in a loose puck at 11:31 after an Erica Reider shot went off the post.
The middle frame was halted for roughly half an hour after an injury to Dube in the opening minute. The visitors came out clearly motivated after the delay, peppering Bisons goalie Amanda Schubert with a number of shots, including a slapshot by captain Stephanie Schaupmeyer which went off the crossbar. UBC kept up the pace and knotted the score at two on the following faceoff as Fischer scored an unassisted goal at 7:11.
Both squads traded penalties to close the second period however neither side was able to capitalize.
Sharman and Hovi combined to give the Herd back the lead less than 30 seconds into the final frame, as the latter tapped in a rebound off a Sharman wraparound.
The T-Birds answered back at 4:45 however on a snap shot from Kathleen Cahoon. Penalties took their toll on the visitors, as less than three minutes after evening the score, they found themselves having to fight off a 5-on-3 for well over a minute. The Herd took advantage, with Reider finding the back of the net.
Schubert and Samantha Langford – who came in at the beginning of the second to replace Dube in net for UBC – both made critical saves down the stretch as the home side were able to hold on for the win.
It was also senior's game night for Manitoba, as they honoured fifth year defenceman Lindsay Blight and forward Kayleigh Weins. Blight came up with a critical breakup on a partial UBC breakaway in the first period, while Weins played some hard fought minutes as usual.
UBC: Mathea Fischer (2G), Kathleen Cahoon (1G, 1A)
MB: Alanna Sharman (1G, 1A), Venla Hovi (2G), Erica Reider (1G, 1A)