Puck Bisons pull one out of the fire

Univer­sity of Man­i­toba’s women’s team sur­vives late goal to win se­ries in OT

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - SPORTS - By Ed Tait

NO one knows the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba Bisons women’s hockey team bet­ter than the man who stands be­hind the bench.

So when the Bisons gave up the ty­ing goal to the Univer­sity of Al­berta — on the road, no less — with just 13.9 sec­onds left in Sun­day’s Canada West semi­fi­nal, head coach Jon Rem­pel’s faith in his crew did not wa­ver. He’s seen the Bisons rally be­fore, in­clud­ing elim­i­nat­ing the Saskatchewan Huskies in a five-OT thriller in the quar­ter-fi­nal last week­end.

That re­silience was on dis­play again in Ed­mon­ton Sun­day af­ter­noon, as the Bisons knocked off the 10th-ranked Univer­sity of Al­berta Pan­das 4-3 cour­tesy Alexandra An­der­son’s win­ner just 4:13 into ex­tra time.

“We were ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed when they tied it up and we had the game un­der wraps,” said Rem­pel in a tele­phone in­ter­view from the Al­berta cap­i­tal. “But there was no panic on the bench. No one was throw­ing sticks, no one was kick­ing stuff.

“This is a very re­silient and a very, very men­tally strong group of kids. They’ve had a lot of ad­ver­sity to deal with this year as a team and with some per­sonal stuff. They’ve man­aged to come through ev­ery­thing this year to­gether.”

A lot of that ad­ver­sity came off the ice, with Rem­pel los­ing his father and de­fence­man Caitlin Fyten los­ing her dad, both to can­cer, within the past seven months. But there can be a strength in team, and the Bi­son women found it from each other.

“It’s been an emo­tional year for a lot of us,” said Rem­pel. “It’s just one of those bonds that you have on a team and you draw strength from the peo­ple around you. That’s what has hap­pened with this group this year and I couldn’t be more proud of the girls.

“Th­ese girls plays for each other. We had trou­ble find­ing our game. We could never get healthy, we could never get con­sis­tency. But we just bat­tled and bat­tled and got in. We hit our stride with about two weeks to go in the reg­u­lar

‘You draw strength from the peo­ple around you… and I couldn’t be more proud of the girls’

sea­son and started to feel bet­ter about our game and find our iden­tity. It took us a long time, but we have it now and that can make us a very dan­ger­ous team in the play­offs.”

The Bisons, who also got goals from Kayleigh Wiens, Venla Hovi and Karissa Kirkup and 13 saves from Amanda Schu­bert, have now ad­vanced to their se­cond straight con­fer­ence fi­nal. They will meet the eighth-ranked UBC Thun­der­birds, who elim­i­nated Regina Sun­day.

WES­MEN V’BALL PLAY­OFF HOPES END: The Saskatchewan Huskies knocked off the Univer­sity of Win­nipeg men’s vol­ley­ball squad 3- 0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) Sun­day af­ter­noon in Canada West quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion. The Huskies now ad­vance to the con­fer­ence Fi­nal Four next week­end in Al­berta, join­ing the Golden Bears, Man­i­toba Bisons and Trin­ity Western Spar­tans.

David Bom­mers­bach led the Wes­men in the loss, with 15 kills, two ser­vice aces and four blocks. Tay­lor Howe added 10 kills.

The Bisons, ranked third in the coun­try, ad­vanced af­ter sweep­ing the 10th-ranked Mount Royal Univer­sity Cougars 3-0 in quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion at In­vestors Group Ath­letic Cen­tre over the week­end. Devren Dear led the Bisons with 11 kills while Adam DeJon­ck­heere had 10 and Josh Crellin added seven.

WES­MEN HOOPS SQUAD FALLS SHORT: The U of W men’s bas­ket­ball team is in next-year coun­try af­ter fall­ing 75-69 in Regina in Game 3 of the Canada West play-in se­ries. Win­nipeg trailed by as much as 12 in the se­cond half, and a late rally fell short against the Cougars. The Wes­men were led by Je­lane Pryce, who had 19 points while Ja­mar Far­ley and Ryan Oir­bans both added 17.

WRESTLERS BRING HOME THE HARD­WARE: Three mem­bers of the U of W wrestling team came home from the na­tional cham­pi­onships at Brock Univer­sity with in­di­vid­ual medals. Finn Hig­gins was named the 2016 CIS Out­stand­ing Male Wrestler Male of the Year af­ter de­fend­ing his CIS ti­tle in the 100 -kg weight class, de­feat­ing Ig­natius Pitt of Brock Univer­sity in the gold-medal match. Alek­sandr Sofronov won gold in the 76 -kg weight class, de­feat­ing Con­nor Hod­gins of Cal­gary and Kyle Nguyen won bronze medal in the 120 -kg weight class. Nguyen was also hon­oured with the Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Award, a com­bi­na­tion of academics, ath­let­ics and com­mu­nity ser­vice.


Twit­ter: @WFPEdTait


The Univer­sit y of Win­nipeg’s Kyle Nguyen (left) won bronze in his 120-kg weight class.


The Univer­sity of Man­i­toba Bisons’ Karissa Kirkup made the twine bulge Sun­day in Ed­mon­ton.

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