Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG — Natasha Kostenko's soaring goal propelled the University of Manitoba Bisons to a 3-2 overtime triumph against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Friday night (Feb. 1) at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
Manitoba's OT win extends their win streak to seven games and improves their record to 15-4-4-2 as they seek to stay in the top two seeds of Canada West. UBC's record moves to 12-5-3-5, as they fall further behind in the race for a first-round bye.
For the first half of the game, the Thunderbirds were in the lead. A turning point for the Bisons came late in the second period, as they battled harder on offence.
"About midway through the second period, they pushed back on us really hard and started coming at us hard. We did push back at times but it just wasn't enough to sustain momentum," said Thunderbirds head coach Graham Thomas.
"We kind of got away from our game plan and started playing a little bit individual."
UBC's Tory Micklash saved 24 shots in the game, while Manitoba's Lauren Taraschuk stopped 16.
In the first period, Ireland Perrott left the penalty box, picked up a pass from Shay-Lee McConnell, and sauntered into the Bisons end — tossing the puck to Mikayla Ogrodniczuk who knocked it top shelf on Taraschuk to open the scoring.
"I liked the first five minutes and the last five of the first period, it was the ten in between that weren't so hot," said Bison head coach Sean Fisher.
"Part of that is the ebbs and flows of the game, part of that is our opponent. UBC is big, fast, and physical. They come at you wave after wave."
In the second, on a power play, Rylind MacKinnon whipped a soaring puck past Taraschuk's shoulders to net the second goal of the night, sending the score to 2-0 for the visitors.
Bisons were on the defensive for much of the second period, but with six minutes left, a switch came from the home team and the Herd perked up. From the point, Keen shipped a pass from Rieder and Alexandra Anderson straight off the post and into the net with a ting, putting Manitoba on the scoreboard.
In the third, the home team surged again. With under six minutes left, they tied the game at two. Off a scramble in front of the net came the second goal of the night for Keen off a pass from Karissa Kirkup. Erica Rieder also chocked an assist on the goal.
Micklash made one of the best saves of the game with four minutes left to play from a two-on-one breakaway, as she reached out with her stick to shut down a rebound shot.
Kostenko's game winner would follow in overtime, coming at the 2:30 mark.
In tomorrow's matchup, Thomas said the Thunderbirds just have to refocus.
"We have to learn from it and get back to our process. Make sure that we're ready to play 60 minutes of hockey tomorrow night."
Both teams face off again tomorrow (Feb. 2) at 2 p.m. CST at Wayne Fleming Arena. Can't make it? You can catch the game live online on CanadaWest.TV.