Bisons Force Game Three!

Manitoba Bisons Men’s Hockey Team Force Third And Final Game In Best Of  Three —

After splitting the first two games versus the Mount Royal Cougars, the Manitoba Bisons force the third and final game of their best of three quarter-final series Sunday afternoon at the Wayne Fleming arena at the Max Bell Centre.

Game 1

Manitoba Bisons – 2   Mount Royal Cougars  – 3  Double OT

In an 85-minute heavyweight series opener, the Mount Royal Cougars men’s hockey team got a win in their first ever postseason game – beating the Manitoba Bisons 3-2 in double overtime on Friday, February 21 at the Wayne Fleming Arena (U of M campus)

With the win, Mount Royal goes up 1-0 in the best-of-three quarterfinals series.  The second game becomes a must-win for Manitoba to keep their season alive; that goes tomorrow night at Wayne Fleming Arena at 7 p.m. CST.

Brenden Turnbull scored the game-winner at the 4:09 mark of double overtime, putting a long wrist shot in glove-side to seal it.  Mount Royal also got goals from Cody Cartier and Tyler Fiddler.

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Bisons drop opener 3-2 in double OT              photo by Shawn Coates

Their real hero, though, was goalie Dalyn Flette – who won an incredible duel of the goaltenders with 46 saves.  Starting Bisons goalie Joe Caliguiri made remarkable saves as part of his 52 total, but was ultimately beat at the end of the marathon game.

Jordan DePape and Brendan Rowinski were the goal scorers for Manitoba.

“We knew they’re a physical, hard-working team but it’s a playoff game, there were a lot of hits on both sides and both teams worked hard,” said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant.  “We turned over too many pucks and that didn’t help us.”

“You can’t get discouraged, though.  We’ve got to find a way to score and find a way to win a hockey game.”

As was the case through most of the regular season, fresh legs meant a quick start for the speedy Bisons.  In the first two minutes, the top Manitoba line flew around the ice, earning two hard chances on Flette.  The Cougars, though, got some momentum going on their side after two penalty kills in the first ten minutes.  Continuing that into the second, the Cougars opened the scoring on the power play at the 7:14 mark, as Matthew Brown sent a cross-ice pass to a wide open Cartier, who buried it to put Mount Royal up 1-0.

Two minutes later on even strength, the story got worse for Manitoba.  Flying into the Bisons zone, Fiddler came up the left side and put a shot through Caliguiri’s five-hole to make it 2-0.  Answering in the closing moments of the second, though, was Manitoba’s top rookie scorer.  After the Bisons won a battle along the boards, DePape received a pass in the slot and put it under Flett’s glove to make it 2-1 after 40.

Mount Royal again dominated even strength play in the final frame, but took an untimely interference penalty at the 17:24 mark.  Manitoba capitalized, pulling Caliguiri for a 6-on-4 rush where Rowinski was able to come right down the middle and shelf the tying goal at 18:54, forcing overtime.

The teams sped up the tempo to go back and forth in the first overtime period, but it was Mount Royal who dominated zone time to start the second – eventually resulting in the Turnbull goal.

Game 2

Manitoba Bisons – 4   Mount Royal Cougars – 2 

The Manitoba Bisons men’s hockey team showed resolve, defensive intensity and outstanding goaltending to beat the Mount Royal Cougars 4-2 in the second game of their best-of-three Canada West quarterfinals series on Saturday, February 22 at the Wayne Fleming Arena (U of M campus).

With the win, Manitoba ties the series at one game a piece, forcing a deciding third game on Sunday, February 23 at Wayne Fleming Arena at 3 p.m. CST.

“That was Bisons hockey tonight.  We played hard, we did the things we needed to do to win in the playoffs,” said Manitoba head coach Mike Sirant.  “We were solid in our defensive zone, we were physical and everybody contributed.”

“Above all else, it was our will to win. Our will to win was outstanding tonight.”

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Bisons win game two 4 – 2 to force a game three!                          photo by Shawn Coates

Manitoba was keyed by three leading performances from Ian Duval, Taylor Dickin and starting goalie Joe Caliguiri.  Duval scored a beauty of a game-winner in the third and added two assists, while Dickin had two goals on the night.  One night after his 52-save loss, Caliguiri had 22 saves – two in the third period diving to keep his team ahead by one.

“We need goaltending in the playoffs and [Joe’s] certainly contributing for us,” said Sirant.  “He made some outstanding saves late in the game to conserve the win.”

Jesse Paradis notched the fourth Manitoba goal.

Mount Royal got a goal from Jeff Barrett and the second of the weekend from Cody Carpentier. Starting goalie Dalyn Flette had 23 saves in the loss.

20 hours after finishing the seventh longest men’s hockey playoff game in Canada West history, the start between Mount Royal and Manitoba was expectedly ragged.  The Cougars were able to capitalize first at 6:11, as Jeff Barrett came in hard on the net, putting a shot under Caliguiri that Marshall had to finish off to put Mount Royal up 1-0.  Manitoba responded late in the first at the 18:59 mark, as Jordan DePape won a battle behind Flette, then threw a pass to a streaking Dickin, who finished to tie the game up.

The Bisons upped their physicality after the first break, leading to a goal at the 9:12 mark for Paradis – he scooped up a loose puck in the crease and buried it to give Manitoba their first lead of the weekend.  The Herd followed that up with seven strong minutes on the penalty kill, as they took a major and a minor, but played tight in the middle to keep the Cougars off the scoreboard.

At 7:36 of the third period, Manitoba added to their lead – a Cougars turnover turned into a Lewadniuk breakaway where Duval trailed the play, got the puck after a poke check, and made a move to eliminate Flette for the goal. Four minutes later, Mount Royal put some fear into the Bisons as Carpentier scored on the 5-on-3 to make it a one goal game.

Late, though, it was the tandem of Dickin and Duval – Dickin on the receiving end of a cross-ice pass at 18:40 to give the game its final score.

The loss is Mount Royal’s first ever men’s hockey playoff loss in school history, one night after notching the school’s first win.

courtesy of  GoBisons.ca

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