Hello, and welcome back to a new season with the NAIT Ooks women’s hockey team! My name is Moira Bryan and I will be writing the blog posts this year to keep you all up to date.
The Ooks had a big turnaround this year with only nine returning players, thirteen rookies and an entirely new coaching staff. Stef Thomson is the new head coach, who comes from Ontario but has spent the last couple of years as an assistant coach at Franklin Pierce University, a Div 2 school with a Div 1 program down in the States. Jason Stephens is the assistant coach and it’s his first time coaching female hockey. Jason is loving it so far, and finds it very different than the men’s game,
“I can’t believe how quickly they learn the concepts and apply them to the game,” says Jason.
The team is excited for the different ideas and pizzazz that the new coaching team will bring. The transition could have been very difficult but the team’s openness to change and the coaches efficiency with setting up the program has made everything nearly seamless.
Welcome to meet the firsts! We’re introducing #12 Rebecca Roszell, #9 Jordan MacMillan, #4 Bryana Merrill and #29 Kaitlyn Slator.
Rebecca (Rosie) Roszell is an 18-year-old centre who is taking Personal Fitness Training. She is native to Edmonton, AB and played female Midget AAA last year for the Edmonton Pandas. Jordan (Jord) MacMillan is an 18-year-old right winger who is taking Business Administration. She is from Prince George, B.C. and played female Midget AAA last year for the Northern Capitals. Bryana (Bri) Merrill is a 20-year-old defense who is taking Business Administration. She is from Fort Saskatchewan, AB and played female Junior A last year for the Fort Saskatchewan Fury. Kaitlyn (Slator) Slator is an 18-year-old goalie who is taking Personal Fitness Training. She is from Brandon, MB and played female Midget AAA last year for the Westman Wildcats.
The Ooks started off their regular season on October 5 at home against the Red Deer College Queens. Jordan MacMillan opened the scoring at the beginning of the second period with a backhand top shelf shorthanded goal. The Ooks were able to hold on to the lead until the last five minutes in the third period when the Queens scored two quick goals to take the win. The Ooks then travelled to Red Deer to show the Queens what a mistake it was to beat them in their own barn. After a scoreless first period, the Ooks made a statement with three goals by Verca Kuzelová, Carlin Boey and Jordan MacMillan in the second period. They sealed the Queens fate with another two goals by Rebecca Roszell and Julia Wing. Kaitlyn Slator kept the puck out of the cage for her first ever Ooks shutout.
The weekend after, the Ooks travelled to Calgary to play their southern rivals, the SAIT Trojans. Brittney Savard opened the scoring with a cute little deke to put the Ooks up by one. The Ooks dominated the second period with three goals from Jenn Gaeckle, Meg Leblanc and Carlin Boey. The Trojans were able to reduce that lead to two when they scored two quick goals in the third, but another goal from Carlin Boey led the Ooks to take a clean win, helped by Kaitlyn Slator between the pipes.
The Ooks went back home to play the Trojans again and they didn’t want a repeat of last week. Jenn Gaeckle put them up in the first period with a tap in from the crease. The Trojans tied it at one with a power play goal at the beginning of the second, but Verca Kuzelová slipped the puck between the goalie’s legs to put the Ooks back in the lead. Kaitlyn Slator kept the puck out of the net for a scoreless third period to lead the Ooks to their first sweep of the season!
This weekend, the Ooks are playing their biggest rivals in an inter-city battle versus the MacEwan Griffins! They play at 7 pm on Friday at the Community Rink – the Griffins home arena – and 6 pm on Saturday at the NAIT Arena. Good luck Ooks! We hope to see you there!