CALGARY – Playing sparingly in her young Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference career so far, Raylene Emerson had one assist to show for a stretch of 11 games played this season.
The second-year MacEwan Griffins forward had no points in six games last season.
But on Friday night, the Edmonton Midget AAA product not only scored her first ACAC goal, she set up Dominique Scheurer's game-winner and led the Griffins to a 3-1 win over the SAIT Trojans.
"She's been in and out of the lineup all year and had a good chance today to step up," said Griffins head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "She did and played great for us."
The victory pushes the Griffins' record to 11-1-3 and officially clinches a playoff spot. That may have seemed like a foregone conclusion, but the math is concrete: SAIT (currently fifth with a 2-12-1-0 mark) can't catch them, even though the regular season runs for another five weeks. The teams will meet in the weekend rematch on Saturday (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).
On Friday, Emerson opened the scoring for the Griffins when Jordyn Reimer stole the puck down low and fed it to her cross-crease for a redirection.
Keely Somers tied the game for SAIT in the second period on a back-door passing play from Madison Casavant.
"We had a bit of a rough second," said McAlpine. "A little bump."
With some in-game injuries, McAlpine had to shuffle her lines heading into the third and the players didn't miss a beat.
Scheurer scored the winner 3:44 in when she went in two-on-one with Emerson and sniped the pass into the top right corner ("A really, really nice goal scorer's goal, that one," said McAlpine).
"It was a good test for us," said McAlpine. "We've been struck a little bit here with the injury bug and had to make some serious line shuffles heading into the third. Our girls responded exactly the way we wanted them to.
"It was a good challenge and in a 1-1 game against SAIT who is in a desperate playoff push here. We handled their pressure really well and played our game in the third."
Sandy Heim made 21 saves for the Griffins. Elisha Oswald stopped 24 for the Trojans.