FALUN, ALTA. - In the inaugural Falun Female Frozen Challenge, Megan LeBlanc led the NAIT Ooks to a 1-0 victory over the MacEwan Griffins as she scored with seven seconds remaining in double overtime.
In the first outdoor game in ACAC history, the weather was a key factor. From start to finish, the players never quit battling while the snow never stopped falling. The constant snowfall forced the PLACE volunteer's to scrap the ice at the halfway mark of every period, lengthening the game significantly. Even with the persistent snow removal efforts, players were struggling to make passes, stick handle and shoot due to snow build up on the ice. The game became a contest of who could adapt to the playing conditions the best.
Although the elements were hindering what would be normal skills, the game was full of great chances. Both teams took turns holding the momentum and exchanging scoring chances. Goaltenders, Sandy Heim and Kaitlyn Slator both stood tall, not allowing a goal until Megan LeBlanc beat Sandy Heim on a beautiful move in front of the net with just seven seconds remaining in double overtime. Slator made 40 saves for her third shutout of the year, a weekend after losing to the Griffins 1-0 in a shootout.
"It was an incredible experience from start to finish. It was awesome to see our girls have a tonne of fun on the ice and bench despite being such an important game. It was a great game and finding the back of the net in double overtime with just 7 seconds left makes it that much better," said Ooks head coach Stef Thomson. "Heading into the break in first place exceeded our goals, and we're excited to get back at it in the New Year."
All in all the Pigeon Lake Athletic Cultural Education Society put on an amazing event. When you combine the efforts displayed by the community of passionate volunteers, a 1-0 double-overtime hockey game between two rival schools and the raw elements of sub-zero temperatures and constant snowfall, you get a perfect day.
Players of the Game
NAIT Ooks - Megan LeBlanc
MacEwan Griffins - Sandy Heim
The Big Picture
With this afternoon win, the NAIT Ooks move to 11-2 and remain in 1st place atop the ACAC women's hockey standings heading into the Christmas break. They lead the 2nd place MacEwan Griffins (10-3-2) by two points.