Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – In a well-played game that could have gone either way, Carlin Boey struck a minute into overtime to give the NAIT Ooks a 3-2 triumph over the MacEwan Griffins in ACAC women's hockey action on Friday night.
The ACAC first-team all-star defenceman cruised in over the blueline, backed up MacEwan's defence and rifled a wrist shot over the glove hand of Sandy Heim for her second goal of the game.
"She's a phenomenal player," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "You give her time and space and she's going to capitalize on it.
"I think Sandy might have been screened slightly, but either way we probably needed her to make that save. Boey, when she has the opportunity will finish a game."
MacEwan never led in the back-and-forth contest, but even so might have deserved a better fate.
They almost won the game late in regulation with furious pressure on NAIT goalie Karlee Fetch inside the final three minutes, including Dominique Scheurer sending one just wide from the deep slot after the puck tipped onto her stick.
"I think our girls did a good job stepping up at the end playing desperate hockey," said Griffins captain Sydney Thomlison, who had a solid game on defence. "I think coming into tomorrow, we're looking to find that gear earlier in game, come out strong and play that way the whole way through."
Both teams had plenty of chances to score in the opening frame. MacEwan's Shyla Jans cruised in on a breakaway just as a Griffins penalty expired and beat Fetch with a high shot, but not the crossbar.
NAIT's Kendra Hanson had a glorious chance in the final minute of the opening frame when the puck fortuitously slid through the crease onto her stick, but Heim slid across to block it.
The game became of secondary importance midway through the second period when the referee accidentally collided with a MacEwan player coming off the bench and hit the ice hard. She stayed down for a few minutes while tended to by Griffins Athletics Therapist Ryan Davies and eventually had to leave the game. The linesmen both donned armbands for the rest of the contest.
With 5:41 left in the second period, NAIT opened the scoring off a bit of a broken play when Boey's wrist shot slotted into the top shelf past Heim.
MacEwan equalized just under three minutes later when Jans ripped around a flat-footed Ooks defender and went in alone for her second breakaway of the game. This time, her shot squeezed through Fetch and hit the twine.
With MacEwan in penalty trouble and NAIT on a 5-on-3 powerplay, the Ooks regained the lead at 15:07 of the third period off a gorgeous cross-crease one-timer from Hanson to Brittney Savard.
Heim kept the Griffins in it with a dramatic save, diving over a pile of players in the crease before it could cross the line at 10:43.
And that gave the resilient Griffins a chance to again tied the game. With 9:41 left, Carley Jewell dished off to Jill MacWilliam and headed to the net where she was able to tip her teammate's shot past Fetch.
Despite a lot of late momentum, the Griffins were unable to get another, leading to Boey's winner.
"Definitely not the result we were looking for, but I thought we battled hard," said Thomlison. "NAIT's always a team to capitalize when we let off even just for a minute, so that's something we need to focus on going into tomorrow – not taking one shift off."
The teams will meet again on Saturday night (6 p.m., NAIT Arena).
"I think we've got tons of great things to build on off of this game and also things we need adjust and work on," said McAlpine. "It's early in season. We need to take it as a good learning opportunity for us."