This weekend the NAIT Ooks women’s hockey team swept another weekend series against inner-city rival, the MacEwan Griffins. The women clinched the top seed in the conference and will contend for the title once again, looking to pull off the monumental three-peat.
On Friday the 13th, the Ooks won 2-1 in overtime and on Saturday followed up with a 4-2 victory. The Griffins remain last in the ACAC standings. NAIT’s record jumped to 17-3-2 and the loss ended the Griffins playoff chances.
On Friday night, NAIT played MacEwan at their home, Confederation Arena. NAIT centre Sherri Bowles fired in the first goal to start off the game on a power play. The Griffins played their hearts out to keep up and Dominique Scheurer tied it up in the second period. The Ooks were outshot 10-6 entering the third period, which was scoreless. The tied game was decided in overtime. NAIT’s Breanna Frasca and Alyssa Imler assisted defenceman Jocelyn Racic on her first ACAC goal, an OT winner.
“The Griffins tested us on Friday with a physical game,” said Coach Iwanicka. “I was happy with the way the team handled the pressure and continued to execute our game plan.”
Saturday, the Griffins’ Michelle Pochapsky got on the scoreboard first. She was a former Ook and was taken out of Friday’s game after a hit to NAIT’s Jody Rammel. Shortly after, Rammel tied up the game a few minutes before the buzzer went off to end the first period. The teams entered and exited the second period tied, despite playing determined and desperate. As the third period began, NAIT’s Rammel notched another tally 10 seconds in on a power play, followed by Veronika Kuzelova for a two-goal lead. In an attempt to keep the Griffins in the game, Pochapsky struck in another; bringing MacEwan back to within one. However, that didn’t last long as NAIT’s Bowles shot in an empty net goal, solidifying the victory for the Ooks. Tehnille Gard got the start both nights this weekend and she made a total 43 saves; 17 on Friday night and 26 in Saturday’s game to end the week.
Alyssa Imler was nominated for the last two weeks as athlete of the week. However, this week Jocelyn Racic is nominated. She earned her spot on the roster and got her first ACAC goal in the OT win on Friday night. The tally was her third point in the season.
With only two games left, NAIT facees the Red Deer College Queens, giving the Ooks a final weekend of gameplay to prepare them for the championship series. NAIT and Red Deer are 3-3 against each other on the season. The games are Feb. 19 in Red Deer and Feb. 20 at home, both start times at 7 p.m.
By Faryal Bashir