Griffins Win ACAC Women's Hockey Gold

Griffins Win ACAC Women's Hockey Gold

EDMONTON, ALTA. - Morgan Casson scored twice including the game-winner in overtime to push the MacEwan Griffins past the NAIT Ooks en route to becoming the 2018-2019 ACAC Women's Hockey Champions.

The game began with the MacEwan Griffins on the attack as they dominated the first ten minutes with several scoring opportunities. Chantal Ricker was stopped twice within two minutes, once by Kaitlyn Slator and the post and the other by a failed wraparound attempt. Shortly after Ricker's failed wraparound attempt, Morgan Casson was successful as she retrieved a puck from behind the net on the forecheck and quickly wrapped inside the post before Slator could slide across to make the save, giving the Griffins a 1-0 lead. 

The Ooks would push back in the final ten minutes of the opening period generating some scoring chances and offensive pressure eventually leading to a powerplay. With the extra player, the Ooks generated several shots on net but couldn't beat MacEwan's, Sandy Heim. Griffins led 1-0 after 20.

The Griffins opened the scoring in the second period with a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Jill MacWilliam on the back door giving MacEwan a 2-0 lead. NAIT responded though as they grabbed control of the momentum. At the 8:10 mark of the period Verca Kuzelova fed Megan LeBlanc with a backhand pass who then beat Sandy Heim's blocker cutting the Griffin lead to one. The Ooks continued to pressure assaulting the MacEwan net with shots, all of which either missed the net or were stopped by Sandy Heim. MacEwan maintained their 2-1 lead heading into the final period, despite being outshot 15-7 in the second.

In the third period, both teams came to play as they took turns exchanging chances, but both goalies stood tall turning away every shot. First, it was Kaitlyn Slator stopping Raven Beazer on a breakaway and then Chantal Ricker alone in front. Then it was Sandy Heim stopping Megan LeBlanc and later Julia Wing both off of the rush. 

In the dying seconds, the Ooks trying to keep their season alive. With the net empty and 32.7 seconds remaining on the clock, Brittney Savard alone in front beat Sandy Heim between the legs to tie the game at two and force overtime. 

In overtime, the Ooks fell into penalty trouble early as Jordan McMillan was called for interference. NAIT managed to kill that penalty off but then right after, Jenn Gaeckle was called for roughing. This time the Griffins would capitalize as a bouncing puck found Morgan Casson's stick who then shot it over Kaitlyn Slator and under the bar, winning the game and the ACAC Women's Hockey Championship. 

"We put forth an incredible effort tonight and pushed them hard into overtime.  Despite the outcome, as a coaching staff we are so proud of the team. You can't teach experience, and that's the only thing that MacEwan had over us tonight," said NAIT head coach Stef Thomson following the game. 

Carlin Boey was named Player of the Game for the Ooks while Morgan Casson took the honours for the Griffins. Chantal Ricker was named 2018-2019 playoff MVP.