EDMONTON, ALTA. - The NAIT Ooks men's hockey team lead by Tim Fragle, is set for another season of ACAC men's hockey as they kick off their 2018-2019 campaign this weekend against the Red College Kings.
The NAIT Ooks have been a juggernaut in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference for the better part of the last decade. The Ooks have finished first in league standings for the past six seasons (2012-2018), amassing a combined 150-11-8-3 regular season record, outscoring their opponents 937-349. During these six years, they have captured three ACAC Championships and three ACAC silver medals, including one undefeated championship season (36-0-0) in 2015-2016.
Last season the Ooks finished 1st in the ACAC regular season standings with a 21-3-3-1 record. They scored 131 goals and while only allowing 59. Following a first-round bye, NAIT met the Augustana Vikings in the ACAC semi-finals, where they would win the hard-fought series 2-0. The team then advanced to the ACAC Men's Hockey Championship where they would face the MacEwan Griffins for a second straight season. The team lost game one at NAIT 7-3. They bounced back in game 2 to post a 3-2 win. In the final and deciding game the team came up short in 4-1, earning them an ACAC silver medal.
"We played the team's best hockey at the wrong time of the season as we struggled late in the season dealing with adversity and injuries. After a tough 2nd round playoff win against UAA the team didn't have enough to get the job done in game 3 of the ACAC championship final," said head coach Tim Fragle."
The Ooks are expecting to maintain and build upon the success they had last season, heading into the 2018-2019 season. Although the team lost some key contributors, they are returning some core guys and adding some quality talent as well. One key addition is that of goaltender Brendan Jensen who returns to the Ooks after playing a year of professional hockey. Jensen was named ACAC Men's Hockey MVP in the 2016-2017 season.
"With a strong core returning and new additions to the program we will strive to be playing our team's best hockey in the month of March to give us the best chance to contend for the ACAC championship," says Coach Fragle.
NAIT will begin their regular season play this weekend as they head to Red Deer College to take on the Kings on Friday at 7:00 pm. The Ooks then return home on Saturday to host the Kings at 6:00 pm for their home opener in the NAIT Arena.