Jack breaks program record with her sixth goal of the season, but Griffins fall 4-1 to UBC

Jesse Jack, right, celebrates with Jennifer Andrash after opening the scoring on Friday night (Derek Harback photo).
Jesse Jack, right, celebrates with Jennifer Andrash after opening the scoring on Friday night (Derek Harback photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Jesse Jack broke a program record when she opened the scoring for MacEwan just 4:31 into Friday's game, but the Griffins were unable to build on it, falling 4-1 to the first-place UBC Thunderbirds in Canada West women's hockey action at the Downtown Community Arena.

Jack's tally – a rebound goal off Jennifer Andrash's shot – was her sixth of the season, which sets a new standard for the most by a Griffin in a Canada West season.

"It means a lot," said Jack, who transferred to the Griffins for her final year of university eligibility after five seasons with the Olds College Broncos. "It's been a fun year here. It's been an awesome spot to spend my last year – just a great group of people. 

"The goal, honestly, Jenny did all the work. She got the puck off the faceoff and walked to the middle and shot it at the goalie. The rebound happened to be laying there, so all I had to do was poke it across the goal-line."

With the result, MacEwan falls to 3-17-1, while UBC improves to 17-1-3 in the Canada West standings.

The Griffins competed hard and played with the Thunderbirds for much of the night, but they didn't get the bounces that the visitors did. 

UBC's first goal came four minutes after MacEwan's opener when Brianna Sank made a blocker save on Madisyn Wiebe, only to have it bounce off Makenzie McCallum's body in front and past her.

The Thunderbirds' second goal, also in the first period, saw Karine Sandilands' shot deflect off a defender right onto the tape of Leighanna Rizarri, cruising down the right wing. She put it past a sprawling Sank, who had already committed to save the initial shot.

Chanreet Bassi tipped home Rylind MacKinnon's point shot to make it 3-1 in the second period before the Thunderbirds caught another break. Sank lost her stick late in the third and they hemmed the Griffins in for 90 seconds before Bassi's back-door tap-in from Sierra LaPlante made it 4-1.

"I think as a team we're happy with our effort tonight," said Jack. "We pushed them. The result was a lot better than the last time we played them. I think that comes down to how hard we worked. We played physical, got in their face. 

"They made some nice plays, they got some bounces. We unfortunately didn't get those bounces. It was an exciting game – one of the most fun games to be a part of so far this year and I'm excited to play them again tomorrow."

Jack missed a golden opportunity to draw the Griffins within one in the second when Makenna Schuttler hit the post from in tight and the rebound came out to her, but her shot was somehow stopped by Elise Hugens, who was on her stomach but got an arm up to parry it away.

"That was just a nice save," said Jack. "That's one of those ones you just have to tip your hat to the goalie and move on."

Brianna Sank keeps the puck out under pressure from UBC. She made 28 saves for the Griffins (Derek Harback photo).

Sank made a few beauties herself, especially during a 21 second stretch in the third period when she stopped back-to-back breakaways from Canada West leading scorer Mackenzie Kordic and Rizarri.

"Our penalty kill was 100 per cent, too, tonight and she was a big part of that," MacEwan head coach Chris Leeming said. "That's the Sank we need if we're going to be competitive in games. I think she played a pretty solid game. It's nice to see her in that form this early back in the second semester for us."

Sank finished with 28 saves, while Hugens stopped 15 for UBC.

Leeming gave props to Jack on getting the record, which busts the five-goal mark set by Sydney Hughson and Claire Hobbs last season.

"She's a phenomenal young lady and has come in here as a sixth-year rookie," said Leeming, who also coached her in Olds. "She's embraced everything we've thrown at her and she's super engaged with everything and asks lots of questions, looks for opportunities to grow. 

"She leverages her strengths, which is skating and compete and it's nice to see her have some success at this level because I know it was a dream of hers to play here." 

MacEwan and UBC will meet again on Saturday (3 p.m., DCA, Canada West TV).