Sharman and Serhan talk U SPORTS Nationals, fan support, and keys to their success

Bison forward Alanna Sharman skates up ice against the Western Mustangs in the U SPORTS Women's Hockey National final on March 20 in London, Ont.Bison forward Alanna Sharman skates up ice against the Western Mustangs in the U SPORTS Women's Hockey National final on March 20 in London, Ont.

Bison forwards Alanna Sharman and Alana Serhan made Manitoba proud early in the U SPORTS National Women’s Hockey Championship.

In the Bisons 4-0 quarter final rout of the Queen’s University Gaels, Serhan helped get the herd started with an assist on the opening goal, while Sharman snagged a goal and assist of her own.

Prior to their semifinal matchup with the Concordia University Stingers, the two Bisons alternate captains sat down to share their thoughts on the quarter finals and their experiences in London, Ont.

“We were excited to get on that ice,” Sharman said of the game against Queen’s. “I think we got the nerves out pretty early. We haven’t played in a couple weeks so just to get out there and get our feet under us. I had a lot of fun.”

Serhan looked great during Manitoba’s optional practice Wednesday afternoon. She was playing at game pace with game intensity, picking corners on ever shot and looking ready to roll.

“I felt super good in practice,” she said.

“I took advantage of what was an optional skate on Wednesday and I found that just a couple extra puck handles got me really dialed in. It got me really confident, just super happy and living in the moment here.”

There have been a few complaints about the ice quality at Thompson Arena, but the two Bisons maintained it was nothing new to them and did nothing to hamper their play.

“I don’t really notice it just because our ice is soft at Wayne Fleming,” Sharman said. “We’ve practiced a lot on soft ice in my opinion, so for me it’s fine.”

With both the Bisons and University of Saskatchewan Huskies advancing to the semifinals, Canada West was guaranteed at least one medal at the tournament. Manitoba went home with the gold, while the Huskies fell to the Concordia University Stingers in the bronze medal game.

Both Sharman and Serhan agreed that the conference itself paved the way for strong representation.

“We definitely have a very strong conference,” Sharman said.

“I mean the two teams that aren’t even here were ranked second and third – or fourth – for most of the year.”

Fans from out West were out in full force Friday night, as Bison defender Jenai Buchanan’s father received some attention wearing the trademark fuzzy Bisons hat. According to Sharman, he was not alone.

“Both my parents are here,” Sharman said. “My brothers both live in Ontario so they’re both here and my aunt came from New Brunswick to be out here too.”

Serhan did not have any family come out to London for the tournament, but noted a large contingent in Saskatchewan was cheering on Manitoba. Both the assistant captains were humbled and happy to have the Bisons faithful make the trip out.

“The support this past month and this season has been incredible,” Sharman said.

“Being out in [the Canada West] final game, having that many people at the game was incredible, I’ve never felt that kind of pride and just everyone was out there supporting us and it was awesome.”

Serhan brought it back to the Canada West final as well, highlighting how incredible the support has been.

“It was funny actually in an interview Western aired on their radio was [Huskies head coach] Steve Kook attesting to the environment that was in Wayne Fleming when we won,” Serhan said.

“He spoke about it being kind of one of those games and atmospheres that you never forget. And I think that’s just the nail on the head for a coach who’s been in the league a long time and has been around hockey. For him to say that is something very special, the herd is in full force even though we’re not in Manitoba anymore.”