Bisons, Pandas in Championship Women’s Hockey Hunt

WINNIPEG — With his playoff beard in full effect, Jon Rempel is confident in his team to advance the Manitoba Bisons to the CIS women’s hockey championship next weekend.

The head coach of the No. 9 and third place Bisons must first get through the Alberta Pandas in Edmonton in a best-of-three series starting today.

The Pandas (19-1-7-41) last met the Bisons in the post-season in 2010-11, where Manitoba swept Alberta on the road by a 2-0 margin.

Rempel credits his young team with bringing a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the program this season as a handful of fifth-year veterans prepare to end their university-playing careers.

“Could I have written a script like this? Probably not,” Rempel said. “You get these certain years where things like this happen and it’s been a great learning year for me as a coach in learning how to manage this kind of group.”

Asked if the Bisons are playing their best hockey of the season to having arrived where they are, Rempel was hesitant.

“I would say our grittiest hockey, for sure.”

Manitoba went 2-2 against Alberta this season, splitting a set of games at home and on the road.

Bisons’ rookie Alanna Sharman leads the team in scoring with eight points, in addition to Bison captain Maggie Litchfield-Medd, tied for third in Canada West playoff scoring at six points.

The series begins today at 3 p.m. CT and continues Saturday. A third game will be played Sunday if the teams split. Fans can stream the games live at CanadaWest.tv.

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