Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – There's something about the term 'three-peat' that makes new MacEwan Griffins women's hockey recruit Brianna Sank a perfect fit for the program.
As the goaltender prepares to join a team that's won three Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships in a row, she's leaving a team that recently captured an unprecedented third-straight national female hockey midget title.
Sank led the St. Albert Slash to a 4-1 win over the Sudbury Lady Wolves in the final of the Esso Cup on April 27, solidifying a solid season that saw her take over the starting job for the Slash.
"I was really excited to see Bri succeed," said MacEwan Griffins head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "Everyone knows how important the goaltender is in winning a championship, and Brianna had big shoes to fill when Camryn (Drever) left.
"She stepped up, did her job, and finished her midget career more decorated than any other midget female player has."
The Sherwood Park product posted a 0.81 goals against average and .958 save percentage in 16 regular season games for the Slash in 2018-19 before a solid Esso Cup that included stopping 33 of 34 shots in the gold medal game.
"Her best attribute is her mental game," said McAlpine. "She is able to remain calm in big moments and bounce back from tough games."
That's huge for a goaltender and will serve her well as she transitions to the post-secondary level.
With fourth-year former ACAC MVP and MacEwan female athlete of the year Sandy Heim graduating from the program, the Griffins' starting job is wide open. McAlpine anticipates Sank challenging returnees Natalie Bender and Courtney Beierbach for minutes right out of the gate.
"With the exit of Sandy, we are obviously looking for a goaltender to take that starting role," she said. "Bender and Courtney are both returning for us, but I have no doubt Bri will push them hard. She has played in both a backup role, as well as a starter, so she will be able to draw on her experience in both."