EDMONTON – Men's hockey student-athlete Marc-Olivier Daigle is the MacEwan Athletics first star of the week his performance in a weekend series against the rival NAIT Ooks.
The ACAC's leading goaltender stopped 62 of 65 shots against the Ooks in leading MacEwan to a tie and a win, allowing them to clinch the ACAC's second seed and the first-round playoff bye that comes with it.
Other athletes recognized this week include second star Nikki Reimer of the women's hockey team and third star Thomas Cross-Trush of the men's indoor track team.
This is the fifth time during the 2018-19 season that Daigle has been honoured as one of the three stars, more than any other Griffins student-athlete. It's also his second-straight week after being named third star on Feb. 26. He was also previously honoured as third star on both Oct. 16 and Nov. 27 and first star on Jan. 15.
Reimer appears for the third time, having been previously named third star on Oct. 30 and Nov. 20. For Cross-Trush, it's his first three stars selection of the season.
1st star: Marc-Olivier Daigle, G, men's hockey
Delson, QC, fourth-year, Commerce
After a tough outing for the whole team to kick off the week – a 6-2 loss to Red Deer College in a makeup contest last Wednesday – Daigle posted a stretch of dominant netminding against the first-place NAIT Ooks in a Friday-Saturday series that is among the best the ACAC has seen this season.
The veteran goaltender made 62 saves on 65 shots in the matches against MacEwan's cross-town rival (a .954 save percentage) as the Griffins tied 1-1 and won 5-2, taking the three points they needed to clinch second place in the ACAC regular season standings.
In Friday's draw, he stopped 38 of 39 saves, including a few breakaways, as he and NAIT netminder Brendan Jensen stole the show with two classic goaltending performances.
In Saturday's win, Daigle made 27 saves on 29 shots at NAIT Arena, outplaying NAIT's combination of Jensen and Patrick Gora in sealing a first-round playoff bye for the Griffins.
For the season, Daigle finishes as the ACAC's leading goaltender with a 1.85 goals against average and .937 save percentage.
The reigning ACAC playoff MVP now leads MacEwan into the post-season. With a first-round bye this weekend, they await an opponent in the ACAC semifinal on the March 15-17 weekend.
2nd star: Nikki Reimer, D, women's hockey
Winnipeg, MB, fifth-year, Science
Facing a tough challenge from the Red Deer College Queens in their best-of-three ACAC semifinal series, the Griffins leaned on the example set by captain Nikki Reimer to pull off a 2-1 series triumph.
The defenceman was fantastic at both ends of the ice and a leader in the dressing room off of it as the team tapped into her championship example to eliminate the Queens.
In Thursday's 4-2 win in Game 1, Reimer scored the game-winning goal in the second period when she walked it off the point and ripped a shot under the bar blocker-side.
Reimer didn't record another point in the final two games of the series – a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2 and a 3-1 win in Game 3 – but she led rushes, was crucial to MacEwan's puck movement and led the efforts to stymie RDC's offensive attempts.
Reimer had 11 points in 24 games for the Griffins during the regular season, while proving to be among the best defencemen in the ACAC for a third-straight season.
She leads the Griffins into the best-of-five ACAC Championship final against NAIT, starting on Friday (7 p.m., NAIT Arena).
Nikki Reimer prepares to unleash the game-winning goal against Red Deer College in Game 1 of their ACAC semifinal series. She was instrumental in MacEwan's 2-1 series win (Matthew Jacula photo).
3rd star: Thomas Cross-Trush, men's indoor track
Edmonton, AB, third-year, Commerce
The former ACAC 300-metre record holder came into the Running Room ACAC Grand Prix #2 looking for a rebound performance after finishing second in the distance to teammate Caelen Begg at January's MacEwan University Invitational.
At the Butterdome on Saturday, Cross-Trush delivered, covering the men's 300 in a time of 35.82 to win the event. His time wasn't far off the ACAC record of 35.61.
Later in the day, Cross-Trush led MacEwan's 4x400m relay team to an almost-nine second win over their closest pursuer by running the fastest leg out of a group that also included Griffins Reece Runco, Begg and Connor Swaby.
Cross-Trush will next lead the Griffins into the ACAC Championship on March 15-16 in Calgary.
Thomas Cross-Trush ran the fastest relay leg for the Griffins in leading them a dominant 4x400 relay win, while also winning the men's 300 metres at ACAC Grand Prix #2 on Saturday (Robert Antoniuk photo).