Three Stars: Mwasalla, Abel, Sank earn honours

Grace Mwasalla had a six-point weekend, including scoring a hat trick against Lethbridge on Sunday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).
Grace Mwasalla had a six-point weekend, including scoring a hat trick against Lethbridge on Sunday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Women's soccer student-athlete Grace Mwasalla is the MacEwan Athletics' first star of the week for the second week in a row after producing four goals and two assists in two MacEwan victories.

The hottest player in the conference with eight goals in her past three games, the second-year forward/midfielder is the new Canada West goals leader with 13 through 12 games.

Men's hockey goaltender Ashton Abel and women's hockey goaltender Brianna Sank are the second and third stars of the week, respectively. 

Mwasalla is appearing on the Three Stars list for the third time this season after also being named first star on Sept. 20 and Oct. 4, while both Abel and Sank are appearing for the first time in 2022-23.

1st STAR: Grace Mwasalla, F, women's soccer

Calgary, AB, second-year, Arts

With a six-point weekend, Mwasalla led the Griffins to victories over Mount Royal University and Lethbridge on the weekend.

For her efforts, she was rewarded with the Canada West women's soccer player of the week honour for the second time this season.

Against MRU on Saturday, the forward/midfielder scored the winning goal in the 14th minute and assisted on Alyx Henderson's insurance marker in the 45th as MacEwan won 2-0.

Against Lethbridge on Sunday, as the Griffins rolled to an 8-0 rout, firing 48 shots, Mwasalla was again front and centre, scoring a hat trick with goals in the 18th, 31st and 55th minutes, while adding an assist on Maya Morrell's 52nd-minute tally.

For the season, Mwasalla continued to extend her program single-season goals record with 13 in 12 games, which passed UBC's Danielle Steer for top spot in the conference.

She leads the Griffins into their final weekend of the regular season when they host Regina on Saturday (12 p.m., Clareview Field) and Saskatchewan on Sunday (12 p.m., Clarke Stadium, both Canada West TV).

2nd STAR: Ashton Abel, G, men's hockey

Fort McMurray, AB, fourth-year, Commerce

Ashton Abel stares down an Alberta chance on Friday night at Clare Drake Arena. He made 48 saves as the Griffins beat the Golden Bears 4-3 in overtime (Don Voaklander photo).

It's fair to say the fourth-year goaltender was dialed in on Friday as he led the Griffins into the storied Clare Drake Arena and refused to wilt under enormous pressure as MacEwan beat Alberta for the first time since they joined Canada West.

Abel stopped 48 of 51 shots as the Griffins knocked off the Golden Bears 4-3 in overtime for their first win against their cross-town rivals in more than 15 years.

MacEwan had 25 shots in the contest, but hit for four goals on regulation tallies by Brendan Boyle, Sean Comrie and Ryley Appelt before Curtis Roach ended it 3:15 into overtime.

Abel, who transferred in from Boston University, has been the busiest goaltender in Canada West so far this season with 94 saves on 106 shots in three games. He has an .887 save percentage and 4.65 goals against average so far.

He and the Griffins are enjoying a bye weekend before they will return to action on Oct. 21-22 vs. Mount Royal University.

3rd STAR: Brianna Sank, G, women's hockey

Ardrossan, AB, third-year, Commerce

Brianna Sank made 25 saves on Saturday at Clare Drake Arena (Matt Helfrich photo).

With a home-and-home series against cross-town rival Alberta, the Griffins leaned on third-year goaltender Brianna Sank, who stopped 43 of 48 shots in a pair of MacEwan losses.

Against the Pandas in their home opener on Friday, Sank kept the Griffins within a goal, making 18 saves, but they could only score once in a 2-1 defeat.

In Saturday's 3-0 loss at the Clare Drake Arena, Sank was the difference-maker for the Griffins, who were outplayed for the final 40 minutes, as she made 25 saves to keep the contest somewhat close.

For the season, Sank has faced the second-most shots in the conference (96 saves on 106 shots) and boasts a .906 save percentage and 2.50 goals against average.

Sank and the Griffins are enjoying a bye weekend. They'll return to action against Mount Royal University on Oct. 21-22.