Western champ Bisons head home disappointed

The Manitoba Bisons lost a 4-3 nail-biter against the St. Francis Xavier X-Women tonight in the last round robin game of the CIS women’s hockey finals. There was a lot riding on this game, as if the Bisons won they went on to the medal round, and if they fell short they would be sent to a game to determine fifth and sixth place.

The Bisons went up two to one after first period thanks to Chelsea Braun and Rachele Bosc, but the X-Women fought their way back to a 3-3 tie by the end of the second.

Unfortunately for Manitoba, after Addie Miles’ scored her first goal of the game, in the second period, the Bisons’ goals stopped. Despite winning the battles in the corners and playing smart defensively, St. F.X. scored a squeaker with a little more than six minutes left to go in the third period which would dictate the outcome of the game.

This visit to the CIS finals is the Bisons’ fifth in seven years, however, their highest accomplishment has been a bronze. With the loss tonight, the Bisons will now play their neighbour Alberta tomorrow to determine fifth and sixth place.
A disheartened Bosc, the second goal scorer for the Bisons, hoped this was going to be the year they would go all the way.

“We wanted to preferably get gold or anything next to that,” she said. “I guess it is unfortunate because in the past couple of years we have at least gotten bronze, but now we are out of that too.”

“It’s not the greatest because you always want to beat your previous years but I think we did everything we could so it’s tough.”

Despite their defeat and inability to accomplish what they had in the past, head coach Jon Rempel looks expectantly in the years to come.

“This team probably overachieved in some ways this year. It is still a fairly young team with two very young goaltenders,” he said. “They have both had very good years as their first and second year goaltenders. You can’t replace experience, and for the fourteen first and second years I have on this team this kind of an experience is priceless. I mean, we have always been a team probably that doesn’t match up on paper with talent, but we have grit and we have character and work ethic and all those intangibles and I think that’s what you saw here tonight.”

Tonight’s game was packed with close calls from posts, to crossbars and even a few goals being called off. Early on in the second period, a high shot from a Bisons’ player hit the crossbar and appeared to go in, but the ref called it off. In spite of this tough call, Rempel chose to look past it and accept it.

“It’s part of the game and you have to accept it. The game moves fast, and the referees are human like everybody else and it’s part of the game,” he said undoubtedly. “You roll with it and you just have to come back harder and push harder. Whether it was in or not is really a mood point at this point. She saw what she saw, and we’re not going to cry over spilt milk.”

The Bisons meet their neighbouring rivals on the ice tomorrow at noon in a battle for the last two spots in the rankings.

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