The NAIT men’s hockey team remains on top of the ACAC standings with a 22-0-0 record after meeting with their rivals, the SAIT Trojans. The back-to- back series was a close one; the Ooks took the torch Friday night in Calgary with a 3-2 win and followed-up with a 4-3 home victory.
The undefeated Ooks needed to refine their skills on the power play, after all, they are second last in the league in that category. It didn’t take long for them to take advantage of it after Trojan Eric Walker got called for boarding late in the first frame and the Ooks led by one going into the second. Each team scored once in the second period, so the Ooks were able to keep their one-goal lead. In the third period, the Trojans scored early to tie the game. It wasn’t until midway through the third that Ook Charles Wells responded and scored the eventual game-winning goal. Ken Cameron backstopped 30 Trojan shots as the Ooks took home another win.
On Saturday night at the NAIT arena, Ook John Dunbar opened up the scoring a minute into the first for an early lead. The Trojans later responded with a goal only to be followed by another one from the Ooks, to take back the lead. The Ooks didn’t gain enough puck possession to score in the second period. However, the Trojan’s Brendan Forbes scored halfway through the second, five-hole through the Ooks’ goalie, tying the game at two. The Ooks were determined to regain the lead in the third, but ran into some trouble. The first half of the period wasn’t going in the right direction for the Ooks, as they let go of the puck with a bad give-away allowing the Trojans to score and lead 3-2. Frustrated, the Ooks responded minutes later, tying the game at three. Seconds after the equalizing goal, Ook Tyler French scored the game winning goal and the Ooks remain undefeated on the season and take a 4-3 win.
“We definitely got into a bit of penalty trouble out there,” said French, “but a close scrappy game like that, that happens sometimes and we battled through it.
“They’re a tough team to play. They’re big and hitting us a lot. In the end, we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
French, a former Trojan is now in his fth year at NAIT and is tied for the second highest points on his team.
Next, the Ooks take on their inner-city rivals, the MacEwan Griffins. Games are Friday at 8:15 p.m. at the Bill Hunter Arena and Saturday night at 6 p.m. at home.