Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
RED DEER – Memories of days gone by where finish was an issue for the Griffins are fading.
Now with nine goals under their belts in the last two games, MacEwan bested the Red Deer College Queens 5-1 on Friday night in the first meeting between the teams since the ACAC final last March.
Even if MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine admits the game was closer than the score indicates, it's an encouraging offensive explosion for a group that had trouble burying their chances a couple of weeks back.
"It's just a big confidence-booster for us," she said. "Our powerplay went 3-for-5 tonight, so we've gone 7-for-10 in our last two games against top-ranked teams. It's an area we've focused on a lot. That probably was the biggest confidence boost for us."
Jordyn Reimer scored two of those power-play tallies – book-ending MacEwan's offensive effort by opening the scoring 9:41 into the game and finishing it off by scoring the fifth goal with seven seconds left. On both plays, she converted from the back door, sneaking behind the RDC defence.
"We've worked on that a lot," said McAlpine. "She's our low girl, so she usually creates some net traffic in front. She was smart where a girl filled her net lane and she popped off to the back side. We were able to hit that pass as she was moving. So, good timing on Jordan's part."
Carley Jewell, with her first of the season – "It was nice for Jewell to get that monkey off her back," said the coach. "She's a big contributor for us but hadn't put a goal in yet." – Jessi Rampton and Shyla Jans had the Griffins' other tallies. Captain Nikki Reimer had two assists.
"It was a good game," said McAlpine. "If anything, we took a little dip in the third period when Red Deer tried to turn it on. They took an arguably not great penalty with three minutes left and we were able to capitalize twice. So, it was great for our powerplay and made the game appear a bit farther apart than it was.
"In shots, it wasn't too close, but Red Deer did put some pressure on us in the third period to try to close that gap."
The shots were 39-16 in favour of the Griffins. Sandy Heim made 15 saves for MacEwan, while Nisa Bartlett stopped 34 for RDC.
With the result, the Griffins pushed their lead atop the ACAC standings to four points (6-1-0-0), while the Queens are in fourth (2-3-0-0).
The teams will meet again in the series rematch on Saturday in Edmonton (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).