Cougars take important first game in Winnipeg
Ryan Stetler, Manitoba Bisons Sports Information
WINNIPEG, M.B - On Friday, January 15th the University of Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team played host to the Mount Royal Cougars in the first of a two game set. The Cougars took the first game of the series by a score of 3-2.
Jordan McNaughton's point shot at 12:15 of the second period was enough to see the Cougars collect the two points against the Bisons.
The first period was fast paced with both teams getting chances. The Cougars opened up the scoring 14 minutes into the opening stanza. Some miscommunication in the Bison defensive zone allowed defenceman Brett Zarazun to walk in and score off of his own rebound.
The two teams would head into the first intermission with the Cougars up by one goal.
Mount Royal picked up right where they left off, three minutes into the second period, Cougars forward Matthew Brown backhanded a rebound past a helpless Justin Paulic.
Manitoba would get on the board nine minutes later, after Shaq Merasty picked up a loose puck on the rush and fired a nice pass through the seam to Lee Christensen who snapped home the Bisons first goal on the night.
Jordan DePape picked up the second assist on the play, which extends his point streak to 14 games.
The Cougars would strike shortly thereafter to restore their two goal lead when a Jordan McNaughton point shot beat a sprawling Paulic.
A period that was mostly carried by the Cougars, who forced 11 saves out of Bison goalie Paulic. The Cougars would head into the dressing room with a two goal lead, the most dangerous lead in hockey.
The started off the third period fast and furious, pressing hard to get back into the game. Five minutes in, Liam Bilton fed a pass to a wide open Dylan Kelly in the slot who made no mistake, rifling a shot past Cam Lanigan.
Manitoba continued to pressure hard for the equalizer, but to no avail. Some solid defensive work from the Cougars allowed them to hold on for a 3-2 victory.
Head coach Mike Sirant talked post game about the sluggish start for the Bisons.
"The first period we did not play the way we have been playing" he said, "We were moving pucks without purpose, we were out of sync."
With such a quick turnaround, the Bisons will have to be prepared to play on Saturday against the Cougars, something Sirant touched on after the game.
"They are a very good team, you have to be at their best to beat them," he said "They play very good within their systems and have very good players."
The Bisons and the Cougars face off on Saturday at 1:00 at the Wayne Fleming Arena to play the second game of this series.
Photo Credit: Adrian Shellard