Manitoba splits Mount Royal on the road

Byron Spriggs earns first shutout of the year in Saturday’s win

Bison captain Brett Stovin regains puck possession on Mount Royal defence man Shane Poulsen.Bison captain Brett Stovin regains puck possession on Mount Royal defence man Shane Poulsen.

The University of Manitoba men’s hockey earned a split in a pivotal series against the Mount Royal University Cougars this weekend.

Coming off a pair of losses to the first-place University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the Bisons needed to pick up some points against Mount Royal. The Bisons fell 4-3  Friday night, but rebounded for a scrappy 1-0  win Saturday.

Manitoba started off well Friday, holding a 2-0 lead early in the second thanks to goals from Quintin Lisoway and Remi Laurencelle. That all changed in a span of 12 seconds, however, as goals from Tanner Olstad and Jamal Watson levelled things for the Cougars.

Lisoway scored a minute later to restore the Manitoba lead, but Cougar defenceman Jesse Lees tied things up early in the third period. Lees found twine again in the final minutes which turned into the eventual game winner.

Bison forward Brett Brooks received a game misconduct for boarding in the loss. Byron Spriggs made 31 saves.

Spriggs bounced bakc to earn his first shutout the year in Saturday’s win, making 36 saves. Spriggs has made 614 total saves, placing him third in Canada in that regard. He’s also played 1174:58 minutes this season, fourth in all of Canada.

Michael St. Croix nabbed the game winner midway through the second period, with the assists going to Laurencelle and Zach Franko. St. Croix sits fifth in Canada West scoring with 26 points (8G, 18A) through 22 games. Since breaking back into the lineup, Laurencelle has four points in six games for the Bisons.

The Bisons have fallen out of reach for a top-two spot in the Canada West and a bye into the second round, but can still secure a home playoff series in the final stretch. With a 12-8-2 record, the Bisons are in third place in the Canada West, with both Mount Royal and the University of British Columbia nipping at their heels.

Manitoba gets the lowly University of Regina Cougars next at home on Jan. 26-27. Wayne Fleming Arena has been good to the Bisons, who are 7-3 on home ice.