Women's Hockey Championship

Women's Hockey Championship

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

Grant MacEwan University Griffins have three-peated as the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Hockey champion by beating the host NAIT Ooks 3-2 in overtime last night.

In an end-to-end game the Griffins opened scoring at 7:45 of the opening period with Morgan Casson getting credit.

Griffins would go up 2-0 with Domninique Scheurer breaking mesh at 3:06 in the middle frame.

NAIT Ooks' Megan Leblanc would bring her team within a goal with a marker at 8:10.

Ooks' Brittney Savard with seconds remaining scored at 19:28 to send the game into overtime.

It was there that Margan Casson bookended the scoring sheet with a power play goal at 8:17.

Sandy Helm had 34 saves in the win. Her counterpart Kaitlyn Slator had 33.

"Once again, Morgan Casson ends up as the hero," said Griffins head coach Lindsay McAlpine in an interview with Griffins' Sports Information Officer Jefferson Hagen. "It's her nature to do that. She's not a naturally-gifted goal scorer – she's a hard-working player with a big heart. And that's what wins us championships.

"I'm probably in disbelief I did think it was possible. The fashion that we did it in to beat NAIT three straight, that part is more shocking to me. They've got a phenomenal team over there and played excellent today when their life was on the line."

This was the first time since 2011-2012, when SAIT Trojans got out the brooms and swept the Mount Royal College Cougars, that an ACAC a best-of-five was taken in three straight.

The Griffins started the series with a 1-0 victory Friday March 8, 2019 on their visitor's home ice with Karlie Bell scoring at 5:32 of third period.

Sandy Helm made 17 saves in the win while Ooks goalie Kaitlyn Slator made 28 stops.

The teams returned the next day to Griffins' home ice at Rogers Downtown Community Arena.

Griffins skated to a close 3-2 verdict.

Helm tuned away 26 shots while Slator made 28 saves.

Ooks were up 2-0 after the first period with Brittney Savard (7:46) and Wynona Creyke (11:43) breaking mesh.

Griffins only goal in the middle frame came off the stick of Chantal Ricker on a power play (10:53).

Power play goals, two of them, in the third period secured the win with Ricker (3:53) and Raven Beazer (10:47) scoring.

"I just told them that was the most impressed I've been with them this entire season," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "They responded exactly as we needed them to after taking what I think was a relatively huge dip in that first period. We played on our heels; we let NAIT dictate the pace."

 "We absolutely spun that around. We changed the story. We took control of the game from the outset of the second period. We played exactly as we needed to and exactly as we know that we can and came out on top."

"Our power play I thought was a huge issue for us in that first period, but the whole unit's response coming out and being dangerous any time we were given a power play was impressive. We capitalized regularly on it tonight, so that was awesome."

Shout out to Game 3 ACACTV announcers for giving them excellent play-by-play worthy of a NHL Stanley Cup.