Three Stars: Salame, Bereziuk, Sank earn honours

Neithan Salame celebrates scoring in the first period against UBC on Saturday (Bob Frid, UBC Thunderbirds).
Neithan Salame celebrates scoring in the first period against UBC on Saturday (Bob Frid, UBC Thunderbirds).

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Men's hockey student-athlete Neithan Salame is the MacEwan Athletics' first star of the week after a three-point game against the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday.

The rookie defenceman scored and added two assists, including setting up the overtime game-winning goal, as the Griffins beat the T-Birds 3-2.

Women's volleyball outside hitter Mariah Bereziuk and women's hockey goaltender Brianna Sank were named the second and third stars, respectively.

It's the second time Sank has made the Three Stars list this season, following a third-star nod on Oct. 11, while both Salame and Bereziuk are appearing for the first time in 2022-23.

1st STAR: Neithan Salame, D, men's hockey

Edmonton, AB, first-year, Open Studies

There were a few heroes in MacEwan's huge 3-2 overtime win over the UBC Thunderbirds last Saturday in Vancouver and Salame was certainly one of them with a three-point effort.

The first-year defenceman scored the Griffins' first goal of the game 1:31 into the game when his low power-play point shot eluded UBC goaltender Cole Schwebius.

On MacEwan's second goal, he sent a beautiful cross-ice pass to Merritt Oszytko, who was stopped before Brecon Wood put in the rebound.

And finally, Salame stopped a UBC player cold on a 3-on-3 overtime rush and charged up the ice, sending a one-timer pass over to Jordan Taupert for the winning goal 1:10 into the second extra session.

For the season, the former Regina Pats rearguard leads the Griffins with three goals and eight points in eight games.

Salame and the Griffins will head back to the West Coast this weekend for a two-game series against Trinity Western (Friday, 8:15 p.m. MT and Saturday, 3:15 p.m. MT, both Canada West TV).

2nd STAR: Mariah Bereziuk, OH, women's volleyball

Boyle, AB, third-year, Commerce

Mariah Bereziuk has led the Griffins in kills in three of their four matches so far this season (Eduardo Perez photo).

The third-year outside hitter has now led the Griffins in kills in three of their four matches this season after her performances in a pair of weekend games at Saskatchewan.

In Friday's 3-1 loss to the Huskies, Bereziuk recorded a match-high 14 kills, adding 11 digs, an ace and a block.

In Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Huskies, Bereziuk led MacEwan with 10 kills, five digs, two aces and two blocks.

For the season, Bereziuk leads MacEwan with 44 kills, which is tied for eighth in the conference.

Bereziuk and the Griffins will head out on the road again this weekend as they travel to UBC for a pair of matches (Friday, 7 p.m. MT and Saturday, 6 p.m. MT, both Canada West TV).

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

Ardrossan, AB, third-year, Commerce

Brianna Sank made 47 saves in MacEwan's 4-1 loss to UBC last Saturday, setting a program record for the most stops in a Canada West game (Joel Kingston photo).

Continuing her strong play this season, Sank stood tall amidst a shooting gallery from the visiting UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday.

Stopping 47 of 51 shots in a 4-1 loss, the third-year goaltender broke the program record for the most saves by a Griffin since the program joined Canada West in 2021. Natalie Bender, who had 45 in a game last February against Alberta, previously held the mark.

Playing in all but one game for the Griffins this season so far, Sank has a 2.72 goals against average, .908 save percentage and has made 188 saves in seven starts, making her the second-busiest goalie in Canada West.

Sank and the Griffins will host Trinity Western this weeked on Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m., both Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).