No. 2 ranked Manitoba defeats Cougars

No. 2 ranked Manitoba defeats Cougars

Mike Still, Bison Sports

WINNIPEG — An Alexandra Anderson goal with 4:15 to go in the third period was the difference-maker on Saturday night at Wayne Fleming Arena, as the No. 2 ranked Manitoba Bisons got past the Mount Royal Cougars 3-1 in a fast-paced battle.

Both teams had an opportunity to open the scoring in the game's opening minute, as Manitoba's Mekaela Fisher and Mount Royal's Morgan Ramsay each got opportunities from in tight, however neither could solve the opposing goaltender. 

The Cougars generated some quality chances just over five minutes Iater, thanks to a strong forecheck. Ramsay had another solid chance on a backhand, but was stymied by Bisons goaltender Lauren Taraschuk. Kennedy Bozek also got a good look, however her wrist shot clanged off the crossbar 12 minutes into the first.

The lone goal of the period came with 2:42 to go, after the visitors took a penalty. Manitoba forward Natasha Kostenko was able to steal the puck away from a Cougars player and tucked the put past the right blocker of Mount Royal netminder Zoe De Beauville to open the scoring. 

The hosts settled into their game in the middle frame, utilizing a strong forecheck and swarming defence to control the majority of play. Rookie Kaitlyn Chatyrbok had an excellent chance to broaden the Bisons lead to two just under four minutes in, however her cross-ice shot was stopped by De Beauville.

Mount Royal started to find their rhythm towards the back half of the period, tying the contest with 6:05 to go, as forward Breanne Trotter picked up a rebound in front and went forehand to backhand. 

Both sides had some good looks in the dying minutes of the second period — including a loose puck in front of the visitors crease that Manitoba forward Courtyn Oswald got her stick on — however De Beauville was able to slide cross crease to keep the score level. 

Both goaltenders continued to step up in the third period, making multiple saves from in tight. 

Taraschuk's most notable stop came eight minutes in, as she stopped Trotter, who had deked past the Bisons defence. De Beauville was just as strong, shutting down defender Jenai Buchanen on a Manitoba power play.

The hosts would solve De Beauville with 4:15 to go however, as defender Alexandra Anderson went five-hole on a great feed by Lauryn Keen, who skated strong all night long and was responsible for a number of Bison chances.

"Lauryn was awesome," Bisons head coach Sean Fisher said postgame. 

"She had to play with a converted defenceman tonight just based on some injuries and whatnot. I can't say enough good things about her, and Karissa Kirkup was skating well also. We had a lot of our forwards kind of going tonight, so I was pretty happy there."

Manitoba would add an empty-netter from rookie Emilie Masse in the final second to play to cap the scoring. 

With the win, the Bisons move to 4-2-1-0, while the Cougars fall to 2-4-0-1. Both squads will be back at it tomorrow afternoon, looking to finish the weekend off strong.