Only two teams remain playing this upcoming weekend. Here’s how the remaining teams did.
The men’s hockey team is moving on to the semi-finals after defeating Briercrest 2-1 in the best of three. NAIT lost the first game 6-5 before rebounding to win the next two 2-1 in both games. On Friday, Briercrest opened the scoring on the power play with just over four minutes left in the first. Briercrest would add another just under two minutes later to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. In the second period, the Ooks took control with Keaton Holinaty scoring on the powerplay just 2:23 into the period, then Jared Brock added another just over a minute later to tie the game. Briercrest took back the lead a minute and a half later before Dylan Stewart retied the game on the powerplay with just under two and a half to go in the second. Eric Lacombe gave the Ooks their first lead with just nine seconds to go in the second. Keaton Holinaty added to the Ooks lead at the 8:47 mark of the third. Briercrest retook control, scoring three goals in five and a half minutes and ultimately winning game one.
Game two didn’t have any scoring until Briercrest scored with just over five minutes left in the second. The goal gave them a 1-0 lead into the third period.Joshua Lazowski was not going to let the Ooks season end just yet though, as he scored 1:27 into the third to tie the game. He scored again at 17:49 to even the series at one game a piece.
In the rubber match, the game remained scoreless into the third period until Briercrest opened the scoring 2:53 into the period. Joshua Lazowski would even the game six and a half minutes later, setting up Drae Gardiner to be the hero and score the game and series winner with just 47 seconds left in regulation.
Up next, the semi-finals pit the Ooks against U of A Augustana in a best-of-three. NAIT has yet to defeat Augustana this season with a tie and three losses, but two were only by one goal, including one in overtime, so it should be a close series. NAIT gets a home game in this series on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The women’s hockey team secured the top seed in the regular season with two victories (4-1,2-0) over Lakeland College. On Friday, Lakeland scored the only goal of the first 5:10 into the period. Sierra Meroniuk, Charlieze Sallis and Darby Robertson would score three goals just four minutes apart in the second, chasing Lakeland’s goalie Chantel Walker from the game. Bre Martin would score the dagger for NAIT at 17:21 in the third. On Saturday, Darby Robertson would open the scoring at 11:09 of the first. Grace Martin would give the Ooks insurance at 16:26 of the second. That would be all the scoring NAIT would need to shut down Lakeland’s offence to a 2-0 victory. Up next for the Ooks, it’s playoff action against Olds College in a best-of-three. This series should be a close one, with three games needing extra time, including two that needed a shootout. The home games for NAIT are on Friday at 7 p.m. and, if necessary, Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
The men’s basketball team finished sixth overall in the championship. They started with an unlucky matchup against the eventual champions, SAIT, losing 88-77. The Ooks had no answer for SAIT’s top three players, Marcus Masters, Charlie Corner and Marc-Denaul Gabriel, who combined to put up 69 of SAIT’s 88 points. Ephraim Humlide, the ACAC North rookie of the year, led the way for the Ooks with 19 points. On Friday, the Ooks defeated Ambrose 98-85. Issac Gray was dominant for Ambrose putting up 36 points, but NAIT’s depth led the way, with five players scoring double-digits. On Saturday, the Ooks lost a nail biter to red-hot Lakeland College, who won 13 of their last 15 games in both the regular season and the championship, 83-81. The game was tied at the end of the first half 39-39, but NAIT got into significant foul trouble throughout the game with four players with at least four fouls, including Lodie Kenyi, who fouled out of the game. His foul ended the game; NAIT missed on offence before fouling and Lakeland made their free-throws to win. Overall, it was a strong season for the Ooks, even if the championship didn’t go the way they wanted. The biggest surprise out of the championship involved the Keyano Huskies. The Huskies finished undefeated in the regular season, 20-0, but didn’t even win a medal after losing to Lethbridge in the bronze medal game.