WINNIPEG – The No. 1 University of Manitoba Bisons squeaked out an overtime win in Game 1 of the 2018 Canada West Women's Hockey Final by a score of 1-0 over the No. 8 University of Saskatchewan Huskies at Wayne Fleming Arena on Friday.
With the win, Manitoba took a 1-0 lead in the the best-of-three series.
The two best women's hockey teams in the West were locked in a deadlock for the majority of the game until Bison captain Caitlin Fyten blasted a point shot home with 8.6 seconds left in the first overtime.
Manitoba largely dominated the opening minutes of the game, with Bison forward Nicole Carswell getting the best chance at the 13:45 mark. Carswell pounced on a rebound, but former Bison and Canada West Player of the Year Jessica Vance was equal to the task.
The Huskies gained their footing as the period wore on, forcing Canada West Rookie of the Year Lauren Taraschuk into a few tough stops. In the final minute of the frame the Bisons appeared to have the puck in the net but the referee had already blown his whistle before the puck crossed the line.
Courtlyn Oswald had a breakaway chance early in the second period, but Vance shut that down after Oswald tried to slip it five hole. A few minutes later, Willoughby dashed in and fired a quick snap shot off Taraschuk's shoulder.
In the dying seconds of the second period, Bison fourth-year forward Natasha Kostenko blocked a shot at her own blueline and chipped a pass through to Lauryn Keen. Keen raced into the Huskies zone, made a nice toe drag around the defender but had her shot go off the post. Shots were 16-12 in favour of the Bisons after 40 minutes of play.
Saskatchewan had a pair of chances to start off the third period, but Taraschuk was there with some key saves. The rookie finished with a 25 save shutout, extending her playoff shutout streak to 224:15.
Halfway through the third period, Huskie forward Abby Shirley put the Bisons on the powerplay with an interference penalty. Manitoba applied some furious pressure, and just after the penalty expired Keen tipped a point shot in, but the goal was waved off due to goalie interference. After 60 minutes of deadlock, the two prairie rivals headed to overtime.
Game 2 is Saturday at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on canadawest.tv.
First: Caitlyn Fyten – MAN (1G)
Second: Lauren Taraschuk – MAN (25 save shutout)
Third: Jessica Vance – SASK (32 saves)