Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – If there is a player who is epitomizing the tooth-and-nail style of the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team right now, it's fifth-year forward Jordyn Reimer.
Registering a point in all five games she's played for the Griffins this season – including three goals – Reimer is discovering a welcome offensive touch in her final university campaign.
"Jordyn is a player who gets goals through hard work," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "She's being rewarded for doing the little things right so far this season. She's somebody who exemplifies our team identity."
That's more elbow grease, more gumption and more grit than their opponents – an identity that served the Griffins well in winning the last three ACAC Championships and has them a perfect 6-0-0-0 so far in 2019-20.
They'll have a shot to sweep all of their ACAC opponents through the first third of the season with a pair of games against the only one they have yet to face – the Red Deer College Queens – on Friday on the road (7 p.m., ACAC TV) and on Saturday at home (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, ACAC TV).
Reimer admits confidence is part of what's driving her solid start to the season, but is quick to point out it helps when the whole team is pulling in the same direction.
"I think it's everybody – everybody's having a great year right now," she said. "We've really got our wheels turning, we're clicking and we're going right now.
"The fifth year, it's scary and it's a really big shock that this is my last chance kind of thing. I just try to empty the gas tank with everything."
After all, she's had a lesson in making every moment count; older sister Nikki Reimer graduated from the program last season.
"I think just coming to the rink every day and being able to smile," she said of savouring the moment. "And having 25 new best friends every day. Off ice, on ice, everything. Obviously, the championships. Just everything. It's going to be hard to leave."
Before she goes, though, there is plenty of unfinished business. Chief among that is helping the Griffins in their quest to become the first team to four-peat.
"I think we're really just trying to prove we're leaving this league for a reason," she said of the program, which heads into the Canada West ranks in 2020-21. "We're dominant, we've worked so hard and it's paying off.
"We're just trying to keep that going and we just want to leave the league in a very good way. A four-peat would be exactly that."
Reimer's been paired with several different players this season as the Griffins aim for the right combinations to better serve that quest.
"One player that Jordyn has found quite a bit of success with early is Amanda Murray," said McAlpine. "Both play a similar style of game – hard work, tenacious on the puck and they're high energy, high emotion players. Them playing together sometimes could be a risk if both of their emotions take off in the wrong direction, but they've actually been able to manage each other very well so far this year."
The Queens also come into the weekend with an unbeaten record, sitting 4-0-0-0 after rattling off sweeps over Olds and SAIT. Friday will mark the Griffins' first meeting against them in a match that counts since eliminating them in the ACAC semifinals last March.
"Red Deer's always a challenge," said McAlpine. "Kelly has his team play with great structure, lots of pace, hard work. Are they as skilled as a NAIT? Not necessarily in their top end, but their depth is probably greater and provides the biggest direct match to us in terms of depth of lines and defencemen and goaltending. So, it's a game we've been prepping for for a while.
"Our goal at this point is to go 8-0 and start the season undefeated against every team in our league. I think that presents a smaller goal for us at the start of the season."