The NAIT Ooks have just four regular season games left and are gearing up for ACAC playoffs! They had a by week last week, which was much needed as many of the players and coaching staff were battling colds, so everyone took some much needed time to rest and recover.
The Ooks played MacEwan and Olds in the weeks before their by week. They lost 3-1 to the Griffins in both games, with Brittney Savard scoring the goal on Friday and Cassidy Shandro scoring the goal on Saturday. The Griffins are in first place in the league by a fair bit, and those two losses only solidified the Griffins hold on the first place title.
The Ooks continued their losing streak into their games against Olds. They lost 2-1 on Thursday with Kadey Rosie scoring the Ooks’ only goal. They bounced back on Saturday and took the game into two periods of overtime before finally ending the game 4-3. Goals were scored by Savard, Shandro and two by Jordan McMillan, who also got the overtime goal.
Current ACAC Standings
These last four games of the regular season are important, if not for the standings then definitely for momentum heading into playoffs. The Ooks have already clinched a playoff spot and sit in third place, seven points behind Red Deer and 12 points ahead of Olds.
The Ooks can’t be bumped out of third, but the only way they would be able to move up to second and bump Red Deer down, would be if they won the next four games and if Red Deer lost all of their games in regulation time, which is very unlikely.
That being said, the Ooks are guaranteed to play Red Deer in the first round of the playoffs given that it would be nearly impossible for Red Deer to catch MacEwan at this point—if they won all of their games and MacEwan lost the rest of theirs in regulation, they would be tied.
The Ooks play SAIT this weekend who are in last place by two points. SAIT needs a win or two this weekend if they want to make playoffs and they are going to come out hard.
In the last article I noted that the Ooks need to find some secondary scoring if they want to start winning games and that still applies. Only Savard and Shandro scored against the Griffins and the Ooks lost. They need someone else to put the puck in the net instead of the regular goal scorers, because one or two goals will not win any games. McMillan was able to break the dam and score two goals, so let’s hope that the floodgates are open now and we can see some more regular scoring from her.
In addition, the Ooks have been struggling with connecting passes and hitting the tape.
“When we struggle with passing, we have a hard time winning,” says head coach Stef Thompson.
It’s very difficult to get anywhere on the ice when a team can’t string together a couple of nice passes, so the Ooks are going to have to focus in and figure it out.
The Ooks play SAIT this weekend, Friday February 14 in Calgary at 7 p.m. and Saturday February 15 at the NAIT arena at 6 p.m. They’ll be right back at it next weekend against Red Deer and if you can’t make it to the games, you can watch the livestream.