The opening weekend of 2018 proved to be a good one for the Manitoba Bisons on the hardcourt and ice.
In addition to their basketball and hockey teams going a combined 7-1, the Herd saw tremendous individual performances from several players, including Canada West first stars Nicole Konieczny and Byron Spriggs.
Konieczny led the Bisons women’s basketball team to a sweep of the Brandon Bobcats, posting 56 combined points, including 41 in Saturday’s 82-59 win. Her 41 points was the sixth most in a single CW game, while her 16 field goals that night were the third most in a single conference game. Her 16-of-19 shooting performance Saturday was also the best single-game percentage by a player in conference history with at least 15 attempts.
Meanwhile on the ice, Spriggs backstopped the Bisons to a home sweep of the Alberta Golden Bears, who had entered the weekend the No.1-ranked team in U SPORTS. The fourth-year netminder made 63 combined saves, as Manitoba improved to 11-5-2 on the season.
Also earning stars this week were: Mount Royal’s Zoe De Beauville (HKY) and Winnipeg’s Antoinette Miller (BB) on the women’s side, while MRU’s Jesse Lees (HKY) and Alberta’s Brody Clarke (BB) are the other men’s stars.
Women’s first star – Nicole Konieczny
Manitoba Bisons basketball
Game log: Friday, Jan. 5 – 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals in 87-73 W vs. Lethbridge / Saturday, Jan. 6 – 41 points (16-of-19 shooting and 6-of-6 from three), seven rebounds, four assists, and six steals in 82-59 W vs. Lethbridge.
Bison third-year guard Nicole Konieczny scored the sixth most points in a Canada West women’s basketball game over the weekend when she notched 41 against the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Konieczny had an amazing weekend as she led the Bisons to a home weekend sweep over one of the top teams in the conference. The shooting guard was on fire as she dropped 56 points on a whopping 23-of-31 field goal shooting (74.2 per cent), adding 16 rebounds, eight assists and nine steals while starting and playing in 68 minutes.
On Friday, Jan. 5, the 5-10 guard scored 15 points, recording a game-high nine rebounds, adding four assists and three steals in 31 minutes of play in an 87-73 home victory.
The next night, the Regina native scored 41 points for the Bisons in an 82-59 victory. Konieczny shot the lights out, going 16-of-19 (84.2 per cent) from the field, including 6-of-6 from the three-point line. In addition, she registered seven rebounds, game-high six steals with four assists while starting and playing 37 minutes on Saturday. Her 16 field goals was the third most ever in a Canada West game, just behind Teresa Kleindeinst’s record of 19 set back on Feb. 15, 2002 for Simon Fraser.
This season Konieczny is 22nd in conference scoring at 13.3 points per game and tied for 12th in CW shooting percentage at 47.4 per cent.
The Bisons (8-6) have won eight of their last nine CW games and host the Victoria Vikes (8-4) Jan. 13-14.
Men’s first star – Byron Spriggs
Manitoba Bisons hockey
Game log: Friday, Jan. 5 – 33 saves in a 5-4 OTW vs. Alberta / Saturday, Jan. 6 – 30 saves in 3-1 W vs. Alberta.
The Bison men’s hockey team started the New Year with a bang, as the earned a home sweep over the No. 1-ranked Alberta Golden Bears on Jan. 5-6. With the sweep, Manitoba continued their climb up the Canada West standings, as they are now in third-place with 24 points.
Bison fourth-year goaltender Byron Spriggs was dominant in both games, as he backstopped the Herd to both victories, combining for 63 saves and first star honours both nights.
To start the weekend, the Winnipeg native had 33 saves with numerous from close range to lead his team to a 5-4 OT win.
The next night, the 6-1, 190 lbs. goalie had another stellar game, making 30 saves in a 3-1 victory.
Spriggs is currently seventh in the CW with 3.06 GAA and eighth in save percentage at .908. He is also tied for second with nine conference wins and first in CW minutes played at 942:17.
The No. 9-ranked Bisons (11-5-2) travel to take on the No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies (14-3-1) this Friday and Saturday in Saskatoon.
Women’s second star – Zoe De Beauville
Mount Royal Cougars hockey
Game log: Friday, Jan. 5 – 23-save shutout in 1-0 SOW vs. Regina / Saturday, Jan. 6 – 26-save shutout in 3-0 W vs. Regina.
The Mount Royal Cougars started off the New Year with a bang, sweeping the Regina Cougars on home ice and shutting them out in both contests.
Goaltender Zoe De Beauville recorded a total of 49 saves – 23 on Friday night and another 26 on Saturday afternoon. De Beauville has now played a total of 189 minutes without allowing a goal after recording a shutout against Alberta on Dec. 2, just before the break. This past weekend’s perfect nights were the second-year goaltender’s third and fourth shutouts of the season, tying her for second most in the conference.
The Cougars head out on the road this Friday to take on the Lethbridge Pronghorns before returning home for the second half of the home-and-home series on Saturday.
Men’s second star – Jesse Lees
Mount Royal Cougars hockey
Game log: Friday, Jan. 5 – CW modern record four goals by a defencemen in 8-2 W @ Regina. / Saturday, Jan. 6 – two shots on goal in 4-2 W @ Regina.
The Mount Royal Cougars improved their record to 8-9-1 after a weekend road sweep of the Regina Cougars, earning an 8-2 win Friday and a 4-2 victory on Saturday.
On Friday, second-year defencemen Jesse Lees had the best game of his career, scoring four goals in MRU’s 8-2 win in Regina on Friday night. Lees’ big night marked the first Canada West four-goal game since 2015 and tied the Mount Royal team record for most goals in a single conference regular season game. It was also the first time in conference history that a defencemen had scored four goals in a single game.
Lees has now scored seven goals on the season, which is tops amongst conference defenders.
The Cougars face the Lethbridge Pronghorns, Jan. 12-13, with a home-and-home series. MRU plays at Flames Community Arenas on Friday at 7:00 p.m, before travelling to Lethbridge on Saturday.
Women’s third star – Antoinette Miller
Winnipeg Wesmen basketball
Kinesiology & Applied Health/Education
Game log: Friday, Jan. 5 – 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals in 86-61 W @ Brandon / Saturday, Jan. 6 – 27 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and four steals in 81-67 W vs. Brandon.
Antoinette Miller’s monster season for the Winnipeg Wesmen continued over the weekend, as the fifth-year guard recorded the conference’s first triple-double in five years.
Miller, who leads Canada West in assists with 76, steals with 52, and points with 359, posted 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists for Winnipeg in their 86-61 win at Brandon.
The Phoenix, Ariz. native followed up that performance with 27 points, seven assists, and five rebounds on Saturday to lift the Wesmen to an 81-67 victory at home and the series sweep.
Winnipeg is off this weekend, before returning to action Jan. 19-20 against crosstown rival Manitoba.
Men’s third star – Brody Clarke
Alberta Golden Bears basketball
Game log: Thursday, Jan. 4 – 21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and a block in 92-79 W @ Calgary / Saturday, Jan. 6 – 17 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, and one block in 71061 W vs. Calgary.
Third-year University of Alberta Golden Bears forward Brody Clarke is the Canada West third star of the week after leading the Bears to a sweep of the previously No.2-ranked Calgary Dinos.
Clarke was tremendous at both ends of the floor in the home-and-home series, recording a combined 38 points, 38 rebounds, and six assists, while shooting 50 per cent from the field.
The 2015-16 Canada West Rookie of the Year finished with a game-high 21 points in the Bears 92-79 win in Calgary on Thursday, while also adding 10 rebounds, six of which were offensive, and adding a pair of assists.
Clarke was just as dominant on Saturday, adding another 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while pulling in a season-high 18 rebounds in the win. Another six of Clarke’s 18 rebounds were offensive, as the Bears out-rebounded Calgary 49-29 in the ten-point win.
The Golden Bears, who now sit atop Canada West with an 11-1 record, will host the 8-4 Regina Cougars this weekend at Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.