WINNIPEG – Despite the No. 1 University of Manitoba Bisons tying it with just three seconds left in play, the No. 10 UBC Thunderbirds won Saturday 3-2 after a shootout at Wayne Fleming Arena.
The U SPORTS top-ranked Bisons (15-4-4-2) still secure a playoff bye after picking up one point. UBC's win snaps Manitoba's impressive seven-game win streak and carries the Thunderbirds (12-5-4-5) toward the playoffs with some momentum.
"It's good that we clawed back late in the game and still salvaged a point," said Bisons head coach Sean Fisher. "We know it's really important to have the bye. It was one of the goals we set out to achieve this season."
It was close to looking like a loss in regulation until Bisons fifth-year blue liner Alexandra Anderson kept the Bisons alive by tying it with just three seconds left in the game. Anderson's goal was assisted by Alanna Sharman.
"It was a big adversity for us to push back after that goal," said UBC's head coach Graham Thomas. "They had so much momentum."
The goal pushed the game to OT, where neither team scored after five minutes of 4-on-4 and an additional five minutes of 3-on-3. A lone goal from UBC's Mathea Fischer earned the win in the shootout.
Before Manitoba's tying goal, UBC made an impressive comeback.
With a Bison in the box early in the third, the Thunderbirds capitalized and buried the puck past second-year goalie Lauren Taraschuk to tie it 1-1. UBC's second-year forward Shay-Lee McConnell fired on a perfect feed from fellow second-year forward Ireland Perrott. Fifth-year blueliner Celine Tardif was also credited with an assist.
Later in the third, with another Bison in the box, UBC didn't hesitate to take advantage. The goal came from a bit of a scramble in front of Taraschuk and was eventually put away by Perrott. First-year defender Hannah Koroll and first-year forward Ashley McFadden each picked up an apple.
Earlier in the game, it was tight throughout the first with teams trading the puck back and forth. However, the Bisons were the first to break onto the board. Fourth-year forward Allison Sexton snuck one past UBC's netminder Tory Micklash from an unlikely angle. It was an even-strength goal at the 16:47 mark of the first and was assisted by Anderson.
UBC's offence locked the Herd in the Bisons zone for the majority of the second, but the visitors struggled to find a gap around Taraschuk. On the other end of the ice, the Bisons put up eight shots on Micklash. Micklash put up her own wall, maintaining the 1-0 score heading into the second intermission.
Saturday's matchup was also Manitoba's Seniors' Game as the eight fifth-year Bisons played their final regular season game at Wayne Fleming Arena.
The seniors were Alanna Sharman, Alexandra Anderson, Courtlyn Oswald, Erica Rieder, Erin Kucheravy, Karissa Kirkup, Lauryn Keen, and Natasha Kostenko. The fifth-years were honoured on the ice before puck drop.
Manitoba plays their final regular season series at Saskatchewan on February 8-9. UBC will host the Regina Cougars.