Sunday, 17 May 2020

Bisons Rewind: The Stampede

If you read the blog yesterday and listened to the Game One broadcast of the 2017-18 Canada West Final between the Saskatchewan Huskies and the Manitoba Bisons, you know that the March 3, 2018 game was a do-or-die game for the Huskies after Manitoba won Game One 1-0 one night earlier on a Caitlin Fyten overtime goal. The stakes would be high at Wayne Fleming Arena that night as the Bisons were one victory away from claiming their third Canada West championship title while the Huskies were playing for their lives.

I recall in the pregame setup before we went to air that everyone was expecting another low-scoring affair. As we know, Jessica Vance was Canada West Player of the Year, and she deserved the accolades she received as she was exceptional in the nets that season for Saskatchewan. Lauren Taraschuk was coming into Game Two with a shutout streak that stretched for more than 220 minutes, so the chatter among TJ, myself, and the members of the press was focused entirely on how this might be another one-goal, low-scoring game.

The electricity in the rink was noticeable early on as the 860 fans who came through the doors were into this game from the opening whistle, and they were buoyed by the vocal and loud Bisons athletes who turned out to cheer on the ladies, most notably the football team who took it upon themselves to switch sides to remain seated behind Jessica Vance. Needless to say, they reminded her of every mistake she made that night in what was a remarkable evening of hockey.

If you listened to yesterday's Bisons Rewind, you know where these two teams stand with respect to the best-of-three series, so here is Game Two as per the UMFM call featuring TJ, myself, and GM Jared in-studio!

Game Notes

  • We made note about how Kaitlin Willoughby would need to put the Huskies on her shoulders, and it seems she did in this game as she was th best Huskies player on the ice.
  • Charity Price's goal to open the scoring was the first goal she had scored all year. She had other chances through the season, but to say she was snake-bitten might be an understatement. The smile on her face as she returned to the bench was the biggest I have ever seen on Charity's face in all my dealings with the Bisons.
  • Lauren Taraschuk's shutout streak would end in this game at 259:30 a - a ridiculous stat when one considers that time was amassed over two complete games and parts of two others.
  • This would be the first game all season long in which Jessica Vance surrendered more than two goals.
  • In the three games prior against the Bisons to Game Two, Vance had only surrendered three goals to the Bisons in 180 minutes of work.
  • In the span of 7:01 in the second period, the Bisons equaled that total.
  • Vance would post an assist on the first Willoughby goal in this game - the only point by a goaltender in the final.
  • For all the dynamic scorers the Bisons featured, the combination of Hovi, Keen, Sharman, and Zacharias accounted for just one goal and five assists in the series. This Bisons squad had incredible depth, and it showed in the final.
  • With the victory over the Huskies, the Bisons secured the top seed for the U SPORTS National Championship in London, Ontario. HBIC will feature those games next weekend!
The outpouring of emotions that the Bisons experienced post-game after the handshakes and the medal presentation was taken off the broadcast because I think that needs to remain a memory for those that experienced it. The smiles, the tears, the hugs, and the celebration will always belong to the players, and I was honoured to be there to witness this incredible event in Bisons Sports history!

Next week, we travel to London on Friday to play the eighth-ranked Queen's Golden Gaels as Bisons Rewind will continue on HBIC. I hope you'll join me here next week for that!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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