Emotions were once again running high between the Alberta Golden Bears and Manitoba Bisons Saturday night in Winnipeg. The herd picked up a 5-4 overtime victory the night before, coming back from a 2-0 deficit, which handed the Golden Bears just their second loss of the season.
A two goal second period would be what the Bisons needed to eventually defeat the Golden Bears 3-1 in the series finale on Saturday. Riley Kieser scored the lone Alberta goal, while goalie Zach Sawchenko would finish 19 saves on the night. Manitoba’s Byron Spriggs would finish with 30.
Just after the mid way point of the second period Brett Brooks would increase the Bison lead to two. Sean Christensen got his point shot on net but was initially saved by Sawchenko before Brooks was able to put away the rebound. Shortly after the Bisons took the 2-0 lead, Alberta finally got on the board. Riley Kieser tucked one behind Bison goalie Byron Spriggs after making the first save off Ryan Rehill. Manitoba would quickly take back their two goal lead on a pretty passing play that was finished by Quintin Lisoway. The Bisons would carry that 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
It was a physical start for both sides on the ice tonight. Alberta, who was clearly upset from the result the night before, came out hard and took every opportunity to lay a hit on their Manitoba opposition. However, it was the Bisons that would open the scoring. After a quick breakout pass from Adam Henry that triggered the 2 on 1, Zach Franko took a cross-ice feed from line mate Michael St.Croix and buried it for the early 1-0 lead. Both goalies were solid in the opening frame but it was the Alberta net minder, Zach Sawchenko, who came up with a big stop in the dying seconds to keep the Bison lead at one.
The Golden Bear power play would do all that could to try and narrow the 3-1 Bison lead mid way through the third period. Top-notch defending and more solid goaltending from Spriggs would leave the Alberta power play searching for answers.
Manitoba will head to Saskatoon next weekend for a weekend series against the Saskatchewan Huskies (Jan.12-13) and the Golden Bears will head back to Edmonton next weekend for a home-and-home series against the Calgary Dinos.