Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.
We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.No Thanks Subscribe
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/2/2011 (3329 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team conquered the epic water slides at West Edmonton Mall on Sunday to pass the time before their flight home today.
But for the Bisons, Canada West women's hockey champions for the second time in three years, hurtling down a 25-metre water slide was relaxing compared to the battle with the Pandas at the University of Alberta in Manitoba's 2-0 win in the best-of-three series.
"It feels just awesome. Since I came to the Bisons, every year, it's only gotten better," said Nellie Minshull of Pierson, Man., who is in her third year. "I really hope that people view us as being among the best teams in Canada because we are definitely contenders."
The Bisons beat Alberta 2-1 on Saturday, which followed Friday's 2-0 win with rookie Meghan Vestby scoring both game-winning goals.
It was the first time in 14 years of women's hockey that the Pandas were swept in the conference final on their home ice. It is only the second conference championship ever won by the Bisons women's hockey team in its 14-year history. When the Bisons won in 2009, it was in three games.
Bisons head coach Jon Rempel, in his seventh year, said the Bisons nearly upset Alberta in Edmonton last year in the conference final and that was on the players' minds coming in this weekend.
"It's just incredible determination, this group just never quits," Rempel said. "This group, for me, is probably the best group I've coached here and I don't say that lightly because I've coached a lot of pretty good groups here already. But this group has something very special about it, it's the tightest group that we've had, for sure. They've really backed me up as a coach and backed each other up during some rough patches and they really deserve to be in the position we're in right now."
That position is that the Bisons are off to the national championship for the fifth time in seven years.
Both Manitoba and Alberta will advance to the six-team Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship March 10-13 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. Canada West received an additional berth this year.
"To go into the CIS tournament as conference champions, it changes the way you carry yourself," Rempel said. "We've heard it three out of the four years we were there (when Alberta went in as conference champion), you hear the whispers that you were on Alberta's coattails. When you earn your way there as champions, those are things people can't take away from you. Our program deserves to be at nationals and these players deserve to be there. They've earned it."
The turning point of the series may have been during a stretch in the third period of Friday's 2-0 win when the Pandas reportedly outshot the Bisons 13-1 but could not beat Bisons goaltender Tara Lacquette.
"Our goaltending was very good, I thought Tara was excellent particularly in both third periods, our power play is basically running the show right now at 30 percent and that won us series," Rempel said.