Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Jordyn Reimer has long made an impact for the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team as a strong checker, penalty killer and worker.
Now the goals are going in.
With four so far this season in 14 games, including a two-goal performance in a 5-1 win over Red Deer College back on Oct. 26, Reimer is becoming a key offensive contributor.
"I wouldn't necessarily say that Jordyn's changed her entire game, it's that she's finally been able to produce offence out of the game that she's always given us," said head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "Jordyn's a consistent checker, hard worker and I think she's just fine-tuned those aspects and put together a more complete package."
Reimer will lead the Griffins into their first action of the second semester this weekend against Red Deer College – another rematch of the 2017-18 ACAC Championship won by MacEwan. The teams will square off in Red Deer on Friday (7 p.m., ACAC TV) and at the Downtown Community Arena on Saturday (6 p.m.).
As coaches often preach, you play as you practise. That's an accurate assessment of Reimer, who regularly sets the tone for the team on weekdays.
"Every girl has their day where I go 'oh, they're having a rough practice' and maybe not as engaged today – something going on school-wise or life-wise or whatever," noted McAlpine. "I have not seen Jordyn take her foot off the gas one time in a practice this year. I think that's what's transitioned to her game play being as consistent as it is for us."
The offence is welcome for a team that has struggled to produce at key times this season. Yes, the Griffins are still alive for top spot in the conference with a 10-4-1-0 record (two back of 11-2-1-0 NAIT entering the second semester), but they left some points on the table in the first half. In a few games, their offensive output didn't match the high number of shots they threw on net.
"I think we just have to bear down and stick to our game," said Reimer. "We need to play a whole team game and I think it will come. We've been working a lot on it in practices and finishing on pucks and going to the net hard."
Reimer sees the growth in her game as a pay-off to the chemistry she has with teammates.
"I think as a whole, growing older with the girls and having more experience with the girls, our play's better," she said. "I'm just being able to find the back of the net now."
McAlpine has been preaching to her players to drive the net hard for rebounds and Reimer is having some success doing just that.
"I think it's actually her ability to get pucks to the net or be in that gritty area," said McAlpine. "She plays really well in there and isn't afraid to get into the paint. She's scored some key goals for us.
"We've moved her into a powerplay position," she added. "If you asked me at the beginning of the year, 'would Jordyn be a key contributor on the power play? I would have said, no.' But she's stepped in and produced a good chunk of our power-play points."
Now in her fourth season, Reimer will soon watch her sister Nikki Reimer graduate from the Griffins' program. The two Winnipeg products are in their third year together on the Griffins.
While Nikki is team captain and Jordyn doesn't wear a letter, there's no doubt they both bring leadership to the team.
"We have a room full of great leaders," said McAlpine. "Jordyn is a great leader in so many aspects – whether it's on-ice, off-ice or a social aspect, she brings all of those attributes without wearing a letter."
RDC will bring a challenge in MacEwan's first games back after the break, even if their record (5-6-1-0) has them a distant third in the ACAC standings. It's possible they're a playoff opponent for the Griffins again in less than two months.
"The second half is shorter for us, first off, and I think everything is leading into those two playoff rounds," said McAlpine of the remaining 10 games. "Red Deer is a very likely contender for us again in the first round.
"Red Deer's a team that we can never take lightly," she continued. "They work a full 60 minutes and I think that's their strength. They've got a relatively strong defensive core. They have a couple of dangerous offensive players who can put the puck in the net."