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NAIT Ooks: ACAC Championships cancelled

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The Ooks beat the Red Deer Queens in a do or die game three in overtime to advance to the ACAC Championships for the second year in a row against the MacEwan Griffins. The Ooks played the first two games of the best of five final last weekend, and were supposed to play the rest this upcoming weekend.

Thursday’s game was at the Downtown Community Centre. The Ooks came out strong and both teams clashed through the first period, but the game remained scoreless after one. At the beginning of the second period, the puck bounced weirdly in front of Ooks goalie Kaitlyn Slator and a Griffin was able to get a stick on it and put it top shelf. The Ooks tried to bounce back but were unable to put the puck in the net and the Griffins took game one 1-0.

The Ooks were ready to go for game two, in their own barn. While both teams had chances, much like the first game, no one was able to put the puck in the net after a period of play. Both teams came out strong in the second but the Griffins were the first to score. With the score up 1-0  the Ooks were going on the power play. The Ooks couldn’t capitalize on the power play but ten seconds after it ended Livia Lucova took a slap shot that hit the bar in the back of the net and went out. Unfortunately, after review the goal was called off and the Griffins remained up by one. The Griffins were able to score another goal in the third and potted an empty netter at the end to take the game 3-0.

The Ooks are in a tough situation, but perhaps an even tougher situation is the state of the sports world right now. The NHL has paused their season and Hockey Canada has ordered all levels underneath them to cease operations. The ACAC has followed in their footsteps and has cancelled the games this weekend.

While the Ooks needed to win to keep playing, the end of the season has come abruptly and in an unsatisfying way. For the players not returning, they may never wear their jersey again and it’s taking its toll. Now that the season could be over, the girls are spending as much time as they can together before they’re all done. Many of them weren’t ready for the season to be over that quickly, and the players that are leaving, have already played their last game. While the Ooks are continuing to bond off of the ice, what brought them together is over.

The ACAC will meet again on March 31st to decide if the two teams will play the remainder of the championship series but until then, team activities and practices are all cancelled, and there’s a chance that the Ooks won’t see the ice again this year.

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