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New season, new challenges for the NAIT Ooks


The Ooks’ season started this past weekend in a pretty crazy way. The Ooks fell to the Griffins 10-5 on Friday, and 2-1 on Saturday. Both were great games played very well, and things are looking up heading into the season. On Friday, the Ooks had quite a bit of trouble in their own zone; they scored five goals, but weren’t able to close out the Griffins who squeaked ten by. On Saturday, they held them to only two goals, but didn’t score enough to get the win.

The Home Opener

In Friday’s game, Megan Leblanc scored two beautiful goals to give the Ooks a quick lead. The Griffins answered with a goal but then Leblanc hit Brittney Savard coming off the bench with a beautiful pass that she one-timed into the net. The Griffins scored again to end the period at 3-2 for the Ooks.

The second period can be detrimental to some teams with the rink switched around and the long change — the Ooks definitely felt it in this game. Both teams were exchanging chances until about eight minutes left in the second when the Griffins scored four consecutive goals, taking the lead to 6-3.

The Ooks came out strong at the beginning of the third period. Olivia Davis took Kaitlyn Slator’s spot between the pipes for the final period. Two minutes in, Cassidy Shandro got her stick on the puck in a messy pileup in the crease and put it in the net to start the Ooks’ comeback trail. Unfortunately, the Griffins answered right back with another goal. Then, Bre Martin got a breakaway and dangled her way right past the Griffins goaltender. The Griffins would score three more goals in the period to finish the game 10-5.

Saturday’s Game

On Saturday, the Ooks were hungry for redemption as soon as they hit the ice. They needed to box out in front of the net and limit the Griffins chances from in the house. Unfortunately, the Griffins opened the scoring on the power play with a top shelf shot past Slator, ending the first period at 1-0 for the Griffins.

The Ooks put on the pressure in the second and Savard was able to fire a shot right through the five-hole of the Griffins goalie, leaving the score tied after two.

The Ooks held strong but the Griffins were able to sneak another one past Slator with five minutes left in the third, ending the game at 2-1 for the Griffins.

The Rookies

As the rookies start to score some goals and get themselves noticed, let’s introduce a couple more: #18 Bre Martin, #21 Michaella Kibblewhite, #28 Bethany Connelly and #31 Ashley Smith.

Bre Martin is a 20-year-old winger who is taking Personal Fitness Training. She is from Red Deer, A.B. and played female Junior A last year for the Central Alberta Amazons.

Michaella (Kibbs) Kibblewhite is an 18-year-old centre who is taking Business Administration. She is from Stoney Plain, A.B. and played in the CSSHL Academy league last year for the Northern Alberta Xtreme.

Bethany (Beef) Connelly is an 18-year-old defense who is taking Personal Fitness Training. She is from Dawson Creek, B.C. and played female midget A last year for the Northern BC Predators.

Ashley (Ash) Smith is a 17-year-old goalie who is taking Academic Upgrading. She is from Vancouver, B.C. and played female midget A last year for the Vancouver Angels.

Looking Ahead

The Ooks play the Olds Broncos this week on Thursday and Friday night. They have been practicing hard and doing lots of chalk talk review, going over their own games against MacEwan, as well as some scouting ahead. The Ooks are looking to come out strong this weekend and take the four points they could have had last weekend this week against the Broncos.

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