Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
LANGLEY, B.C. – It was Brianna Sank's turn to post a shutout for the Griffins on Saturday as they blanked the Trinity Western Spartans 1-0 to complete the program's first Canada West weekend sweep.
Combined with Friday's 2-0 win, they didn't even allow a goal all weekend.
"I think probably the best takeaway from the weekend is we were able to keep them to zeroes both nights," said Griffins head coach Lindsay McAlpine.
With the win, the Griffins are now .500 at 5-5-0-0 and have climbed into a playoff position (sixth) in the Canada West standings. TWU, meanwhile, falls to 2-8-0-0, remaining in the conference cellar.
"We knew the importance of the weekend coming into it and the girls did what they needed to do to get the two wins," said McAlpine. "It's our first U SPORTS sweep, so it was another monumental moment for our program.
"And yesterday, (Natalie) Bender was also able to break Sandy Heim's record, so it was a big weekend for big moments. We have her the game puck today, which was nice."
A night after Bender recorded the record-breaking 12th regular season shutout of her MacEwan career with 19 saves, Sank earned her second (and first in Canada West) with 21 stops.
"We didn't give a ton of Grade A chances up to Trinity, but she made the saves when she needed to," said McAlpine. "There were a couple of critical ones coming at the end when they pushed. She came up big."
Mila Verbicky scored on the powerplay at 8:50 of the first period for the only goal the Griffins would need, stuffing the puck past TWU starter Jadeyn Kastning on a net-front scramble.
Then it was up to some great defence and penalty killing to seal the deal.
"I don't get an opportunity a ton to talk about our penalty kill and the work of Amanda Murray and Joie Simon," said McAlpine. "But they are relentless on the puck and very hard for opponents to play against. They always set the tone in our games and were able to drive us through this weekend."
Next up for the Griffins is a home-and-home series against cross-town rival Alberta on the final weekend of first semester action, Dec. 3-4. Saturday's game is at the Downtown Community Arena (5 p.m.), while both games are on Canada West TV presented by Co-op.