Sunday, 22 February 2015

Dramatic Rubber Match

These ladies are legitimately trying to give heart attacks to their fans. The Manitoba Bisons and Regina Cougars met in Game Three of the best-of-three Canada West Quarterfinal series tonight, and this one had all the makings of a "game for the ages". After Manitoba took Game One on Friday night by a 4-1 score and Regina responded with an incredible come-from-behind 4-3 double-overtime victory last night, tonight's game continues to deliver on the theatrics in the most heart attack-inducing way!

Manitoba jumped out to a 2-0 on Alanna Sharman's first-period goal and Maggie Litchfield-Medd's second-period goal. Again, the Bisons were a mere twenty minutes from advancing, but these Regina Cougars seem to enjoy the challenge of rallying from behind.

Emma Waldenberger, who stands 6'0" off skates, used her imposing frame to corral a puck and fire it past Rachel Dyck on the power-play at 5:58 of the third period to make it 2-1. If you have that "here we go again" feeling, well, here we go again.

Bailey Braden, with Toni Ross on the bench and six attackers on the ice, fired a shot that somehow found its way through a maze of players including goaltender Rachel Dyck with 1.3 seconds remaining in the game. Yes, you read that right - Regina tied the game 2-2 with one second left. And once more, we were off to overtime between these two teams.

However, the results would not be duplicated. At 3:56 of the first overtime period, the Manitoba Bisons would break into teir happy dances as Courtlyn Oswald drove the net hard after Lauren Keen's initial chance, and she would bury the opportunity for what is likely the biggest goal of her hockey career thus far! Manitoba wins the game 3-2 in overtime and takes the series 2-1!
"Oh gosh... I've scored a few goals with the Bisons, but I don't think any goal is going to compare to that," Oswald told reporters after the game. "There's no better feeling."

Indeed! With her goal, Oswald and the Bisons now advance to next weekend's three-game series against the UBC Thunderbirds in British Columbia. Manitoba dropped two games in Vancouver on February 6 and 7 by scores of 4-3 and 5-2, respectively, but defeated UBC 2-1 in overtime and 3-1 here in Winnipeg earlier this season. Manitoba will have to be at their best this weekend if they hope to defeat the Thunderbirds, but they've proven that it can be done.

Congratulations to the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team on their quarterfinal victory over the Regina Cougars!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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