By Carter Brooks
Photo courtesy of the Manchester Storm
On Tuesday, the University of Manitoba Bisons laced up for their first preseason game of the 2018-19 hockey calendar. It wasn't just any preseason game either, as it was stop one of the Bisons' European tour in Manchester.
After 30 hours of travel, the team from the University of Manitoba settled in to the Altrincham Ice Dome in Manchester for their first on-ice test since last spring's conference playoffs.
The Bisons fell behind rather quickly as defenceman Harrison Ruopp beat Byron Spriggs, putting the Manchester Storm ahead 1-0 just a few minutes into the contest. Other than a set of penalties, the first period failed to provide much on the dramatic side of things.
Manitoba Head Coach Mike Sirant followed his plan to use both goaltenders, yanking the veteran Spriggs from the crease midway through the second frame. That move proved costly, as third-year netminder Dasan Sydora allowed the Storm's second goal of the game just a minute into his appearance. Mike Hammond collected his second point of the game as he beat Sydora halfway through the second.
The Bisons changed their gameplay down two goals heading into the third period, and it seemed to work. Although giving up another goal to Antoine Poulin, Jeremey Leipsic, Devon Skoleski and Keaton Jameson scored for Manitoba, ultimately knotting the game up at threes with just four minutes left to play. The comeback, however, fell short as Manchester's Evan Richardson potted the game-winner for the Storm with less than three minutes to go.
The boys from the University of Manitoba will continue their trek across England, Scotland and Ireland as they take on the Fife Flyers in Scotland on Thursday, August 23rd from Kirkcaldy. Two weekend games against the Belfast Giants wrap up the business part of the Bisons' stay in the United Kingdom, before the team enjoys a handful of days of sightseeing and exploring before returning home for the remainder of their preseason.