WINNIPEG – Fresh off an upset victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies last Saturday, the University of Manitoba Bisons (8-16-2-1) stunned the No. 5 ranked Alberta Pandas (18-8-1-0) Friday night at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
First-year forward Kate Gregoire scored twice in the contest and Herd captain Jordyn Zacharias chipped in with a goal and two assists of her own to help propel Manitoba to the shocking 3-2 victory over the first-place Pandas.
With the game tied at 1-1, Gregoire scored with exactly 10 minutes remaining to put the Bisons up 2-1 before Zacharias added the game-winning, empty net goal to seal the win for the Bisons.
Alberta came into tonight’s game having won nine of their last ten games since the holiday break and sat on top of the Canada West standings with 56 points.
“They definitely played like a team that had something to play for tonight,” said Pandas head coach Howie Draper.
“The standings might show that they have struggled this year but they are a young team with all the right elements to be successful.”
Despite several phases of offensive zone pressure from the Pandas in the opening period, it was the Bisons who struck first. After a failed clearing attempt ended up on the stick of Zacharias, she found Kate Gregoire who slid the puck between the five-hole of Alberta goalie Halle Oswald for the early 1-0 lead.
However, the Pandas answered back just past the midway mark of the second frame. Shortly after Bisons defender Camille Enns was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking, Alberta’s Kennedy Ganser beat Manitoba goaltender Erin Fargey to tie the game at 1-1.
Just minutes later, Gregoire found herself starring at a wide-open net but fanned on her shot that would have restored Manitoba’s one-goal lead. Before the second period came to a close, Fargey stopped an Alberta 2-on-1 to keep the game tied heading to the final intermission.
For the second time in the game, Zacharias and Gregoire connected to put the Bisons up 2-1 with exactly 10 minutes remaining in the third. Zacharias added her third point to the score sheet after an empty net goal with 2:51 remaining on the clock. Alberta got back to within one after capitalizing on power play with just 40 seconds left on the clock. That was as close as the visitors would get as Manitoba killed the rest of the clock to earn the 3-2 victory over the Pandas.
The two teams will be in action again tomorrow at the Wayne Fleming Arena starting at 2 p.m. CT.