Sank stops 32 shots for her fifth career shutout as MacEwan blanks Regina 1-0

Brianna Sank made 32 saves for her fifth university career shutout on Saturday night (Calvin Hui photo).
Brianna Sank made 32 saves for her fifth university career shutout on Saturday night (Calvin Hui photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

REGINA, Sask. – Brianna Sank had stopped 89 of 95 shots without a point to show for it in her three previous starts with the Griffins women's hockey game entering Saturday night.

This time, she absolutely locked it down, leaving no doubt MacEwan would get points, stopping all 32 shots she faced for the fifth shutout of her university career and a 1-0 win over the Regina Cougars.

For the math whiz in the crowd, that's 121 saves and a sizzling .953 save percentage in her past four outings. 

"I'm just going to echo what we've been saying about her lately," said MacEwan head coach Chris Leeming. "She's been consistent for us here. She's showing her experience and gives our team a lot of confidence. She makes the saves she should make and makes the occasional one that she probably shouldn't make for us. 

"It's a huge boost in terms of momentum. It gives us some confidence when we're in our D zone."

The Griffins were outshot 32-11 in Saturday's game, but the only goal they needed came in the second period when Tess Collier's power-play point blast eluded Regina goaltender Arden Kliewer with a screen in front. 

"She got an opportunity this weekend to get some powerplay reps because one of our normal powerplay girls wasn't able to travel this weekend with us," said Leeming. "She's really elevated her game lately. She's a big body, she sees the ice well, is able to make good passes and gets pucks on net. That's exactly what she did. She got a low-high pass and Jesse Jack was screening net front. She got a shot through and placed it right over their goalie's glove. 

"And she had lots of family watching, too, as she's from Swift Current. It was nice for her to have that moment. It was special for her."

With the result, the Griffins snapped a nine-game losing streak and improved to 4-21-1, while Regina's playoff hopes took a hit with them falling five points back of Manitoba for sixth with a 6-16-2 record.

"Yesterday we didn't play a full 60 and today was definitely a full 60 for us – the buy in, the commitment to what we're trying to accomplish and the execution, too," said Leeming. "We scored a power-play goal today, we were 100 per cent on the PK. 

"It was just a whole team effort throughout the whole game for 60 minutes," he added. "It was fun to be a part of, fun to coach. They really enjoyed it. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it."

The Griffins will conclude the regular season next weekend when they host Manitoba on Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (3 p.m., both DCA, Canada West TV).