Austin Connelly, For MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Using a three-goal surge in the final 10 minutes of the second period, the MacEwan Griffins pulled away from the Olds College Broncos for a 6-2 win on Saturday night that locks up first place in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women's hockey standings.
Five different Griffins goal scorers helped extend their program best winning streak to 12 games and runs their season record to 19-3-0-0. That's eight points better than Red Deer College (14-4-2-0), who can't catch the Griffins, even with two games in hand.
"It's something we should for sure celebrate in this moment, but also recognize that it's far from a championship which is our end goal," said head coach Lindsay McAlpine of clinching first place. "To know we have home-ice playoff advantage is massive, but credit to that group in there – they've done an incredible job all season."
Olds falls to 4-15-3-0 after the defeat but remained two points ahead of SAIT (4-15-1-0) for the final playoff spot after the Trojans lost 2-1 to RDC. One of those two teams will be MacEwan's first-round playoff opponent.
After creating a few chances early into the first on Saturday, Amanda Murray broke the ice, potting her third goal in four games, sniping one bar down on a breakaway after Jayme Doyle created the chance with a turnover in the neutral zone.
The Broncos got on the board when Maddy Black beat Brianna Sank on a breakaway to tie the game with 12:49 remaining in the second period.
But the Griffins regained the lead on the powerplay with 8:38 left in the middle frame when Carley Jewell's point shot was deflected in by Jill MacWilliam.
"More so lately, and at a critical point in the season we are getting goals from a ton of different players," said McAlpine. "Girls have stepped up and have done an awesome job of playing on both sides of the puck very well."
Alexandra Thomson scored the first goal of her ACAC career off a shot through a screen with 3:10 left in the second period on what would stand up as the game-winner.
"I've been waiting a long time for it," said the second-year defenceman. "I'm going to contribute in other ways and it finally came tonight, so I'm pretty happy."
Breanna Golosky made it 4-1 before the second was done, grabbing the puck in the neutral zone and burning her defender wide before tucking it through goalie Victoria Eilers' legs on a slick move in tight.
"We kind of like to build small goals at a time and our goal right now was to clinch first," said Golosky. "Especially doing it on home ice, it was awesome."
Just four minutes into the third period, the Griffins extended their lead to 5-1 when Murray struck for her second of the game, tipping home Jewell's powerplay point blast, but Danielle Corrigan answered right back for the Broncos less than a minute later.
Shyla Jans, however, restored MacEwan's four-goal lead on a highlight-reel tally with 5:08 left. She toe-dragged her defender before shaking the goalie and roofing it to extend her program career goals lead to 38.
Sank made 13 saves for the win in MacEwan's net, while Eilers stopped 40 for Olds.
The Griffins will host Red Deer College next Saturday (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena) in their final home game of the 2019-20 regular season before visiting the Queens on Feb. 16 (1 p.m.) in their last action before the opening round of the playoffs begins Feb. 28-29 weekend.