U of M Bisons Men Clinch Playoff Berth

U of M Bisons Split Weekend Series vs UBC Thunderbirds —

Game 1

Bisons  2   Thunderbirds  5

Using a strong defensive game, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men’s hockey team rolled into Wayne Fleming Arena against the University of Manitoba Bisons and earned a key victory to keep their playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 win on Friday, February 14.

The Thunderbirds came out skating, using passing to get themselves on the board.  The T-Birds moved the puck around nicely to set up an Anthony Bardaro wrist shot that went off goalie Joe Caligiuri’s glove and over his shoulder with just enough on it to cross the line to put the Thunderbirds up 1-0 just 4:12 into the game. 3:10 later, UBC would double their lead when an errant Aaron Lewadniuk pass behind his own net took a funny bounce to end up in the slot in front of Joe Caligiuri where Joe Antilla had space and time to fire a shot over Caligiuri’s right shoulder for the 2-0 lead.

The visitors continued their offensive outburst early in the second period as Cole Wilson caught a break when the puck hopped over the stick of Manitoba’s Pierre Landry at the blue line, and Wilson was off to the races.  He made no mistake going low glove-side on Caligiuri, and UBC had a 3-0 lead just 5:40 into the second period.

U of M Bisons

photo by Shawn Coates

The Herd would thunder back, though. Just 18 seconds after the UBC goal, Aaron Lewadniuk tipped Manitoba captain Dane Crowley’s shot over T-Bird goaltender Steven Stanford’s shoulder to cut the deficit to 3-1.  And Crowley would add a second assist to his point total 3:55 later as he hit a streaking Jordan DePape down the wing, and the Bisons rookie would convert on his own blocked slot, lasering a wrist shot over Stanford’s glove to make it 3-2.  However, the Thunderbirds would retire to the dressing room up two goals once again as Brad Hoban converted a beautiful between-the-legs pass from Geordie Wudrick on the power play to make it 4-2.

The T-Birds settled into their defensive shell in the third period, limiting the Bisons on most chances. With 1:07 remaining in the game, UBC’s Greg Fraser would ice the game with an empty-net goal to give the Thunderbirds the 5-2 victory on Valentine’s Day!

“We gave up two horrendous turnovers tonight that led to two UBC goals,” Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said after the game.  “We fell right into their hands after that.  Tomorrow, we need to play with a sense of urgency.  We need to have some desperation.  We can’t expect this to be easy, and we need to come ready to play tomorrow.

Game time is 6 p.m. CT tomorrow at Wayne Fleming Arena with playoff spots on the line for both teams as Manitoba can still clinch fourth place in the Canada West conference while UBC can secure a coveted post-season berth.


U of M Bisons Clinch Playoff Berth With Win In Game Two

Game 2 
Bisons  2   Thunderbirds  0 

The Manitoba Bisons men’s hockey team played a solid defensive game in grounding the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds by a 2-0 score to wrap up fourth-place in the Canada West Conference on Saturday, February 15.

With the victory, Manitoba finishes the regular season with a 12-12-4 record while UBC finishes with a 11-15-2 record.

U of M Bisons

photo by Shawn Coates

Both teams came out with energy as they had their legs going.  The Bisons, however, also brought along some physicality with their hustle.  Aaron Lewadniuk laid out UBC’s Brad Hoban with a thunderous hit at the Thunderbirds’ blueline a minute into the game, getting a rise from the crowd early.  Midway through the period, Bisons rookie Jordan DePape caught T-Birds defender Jason Yee with a massive open-ice hit at the face-off dot in the Thunderbirds zone that left Yee shaking his head to clear the cobwebs as he skated back to the bench.  Both teams had chances as well. UBC’s Georgie Wudrick rung a puck off the crossbar behind Bisons goalie Joe Caligiuri at the 10:30 mark while Jordan DePape clanged a puck off the post past visiting netminder Steven Stanford one minute later.  Neither team could find the twine, though, as they went to the dressing rooms scoreless after twenty minutes.

Manitoba came out with some quick jump to start the middle frame and it paid off immediately.  Just 35 seconds in, Ian Duval and Aaron Lewadniuk found themselves on a 2-on-1.  Duval passed to Lewadniuk at the Thunderbirds’ blueline and he opted to keep the puck as he snapped a shot past Stanford high glove-side to put the Bisons up 1-0.  The teams traded penalties over the next ten minutes with little to show for their power play chances.  Midway through the period, it appeared the Bisons went up 2-0 on a shot from Dylan Kelly that went in and out of the net, but referee Patrick Gagnon waved it off immediately as it went off the crossbar to keep the game at a 1-0 Manitoba advantage.  At the end of two periods, Manitoba still clung to its 1-0 lead over UBC.

The third period was more of the same as both the Herd and T-Birds continued to trade hits and shots.  Early in the third period, UBC held their breath as a goalmouth scramble saw a puck get through Stanford and sit in the crease.  Lewadniuk crashed the crease, but was unable to find the loose puck as Stanford threw his body on top of the rubber.  However, Lewadniuk’s knee caught Stanford’s mask during his rush, and the netminder remained on the ice for a few minutes.  He would shake it off, though, and continue his solid play, including stoning Bison Brendan Rowinski twice on the doorstep.  With 1:16 remaining, the visitors went with six attackers in an attempt to tie the game.  However, Manitoba’s Taylor Dickin flipped the puck down the ice, and Jordan DePape outraced two T-Birds for the empty-net goal with 15.7 seconds remaining.  With the final horn sounding, the Bisons downed UBC 2-0.

“We got the job done,” Bisons head coach Mike Sirant said after the game.  “We saw the scores last night, and knew we had a second opportunity to get the job done.  Our first goal was making the playoffs, and, more than that, we played a solid game.  We did what needed to be successful in the playoffs: smart decisions, sacrifice the body, block shots, and solid goaltending.  We executed a sixty-minute game, and we’ll start practice on Monday with our sights on a long playoff run.”

Before the game, the Bisons honoured their graduating players before the game as Luke Cain, Darren Bestland, Jeremy Schappert, Joe Caligiuri, Ian Duval and captain Dane Crowley were recognized for their contributions in their careers.  Congratulations to these six outstandng Bisons men’s hockey players, and best of luck in the future!

Manitoba will host one of the two Canada West Conference quarterfinal games next week starting at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, February 21 then 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 and 3 p.m. CT on Sunday, Feb. 23 – if necessary – with all games of the best-of-three playoff series being played at the Wayne Fleming Arena.


courtesy of  GoBisons.ca


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