REGINA – Hayley Ward's goal in the 79th minute stood as the game-winning strike as the University of Manitoba Bisons took a 2-1 win over the Regina Cougars on Saturday as both teams opened the Canada West schedule at the U of R Field.
Ward broke the deadlock late in the second half after getting the ball in a good shooting position following a blocked shot by Nicole Davis. Ward stepped into a shot from just inside the 18-yard box and tucked it just past the outstretched hand of the Regina keeper to put the Bisons into the lead for good.
Besides assisting on Ward's game winner, Davis (pictured) also scored the other goal for Manitoba (1-0-0) as the rookie enjoyed a solid Canada West debut. Bisons keeper Maddie Wilford made three saves to secure the win.
Brigit Sinaga had the lone goal for the Cougars (0-1-0).
The Bisons had an uncommon southerly wind at their backs in the first half and opened the scoring early. Bruna Mavignier sent a nice through ball to Davis, who tucked it just inside the right post to score her first U SPORTS goal just 15 minutes into her first match. Regina's best chance to score in the opening half was when Brianna Wright nutmegged a Manitoba defender in the 29th minute, but her finishing effort went just left of the net.
The Cougars drew level in the 60th minute when Kyra Vibert put a nice ball through to Brigit Sinaga which put her in the clear. Sinaga made no mistake, chipping it over a charging Wilford for her first career goal. But the Cougars weren't able to punch through the Manitoba defence again, and the visitors tightened up after Ward's goal with the only Regina shot on net after that coming on a Lauren Petras header off a corner kick that Wilford handled easily.
Both teams will be back in action on Sunday. Manitoba will make the short trip up to Saskatoon for a match against the University of Saskatchewan, while the Cougars are back at the U of R Field to host Winnipeg. Saskatchewan and Winnipeg played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday.