Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Unable to capitalize on six powerplays or score during any other kind of opportunity on Friday night, the MacEwan Griffins saw their six-game winning streak snapped in a 3-0 loss to cross-town rival NAIT.
It was essentially a 1-0 contest that ballooned to three in the final 81 seconds when the Ooks scored a powerplay marker and an empty-netter to ice it and increase their lead atop the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference standings. MacEwan (9-4-0-0) now trails NAIT (12-1-0-0) by six points for first place with Red Deer College (11-1-1-0) up on them by five for second spot.
"It was one of those games a little bit," said Griffins interim head coach Sean Ringrose. "On the chances we did have, it just seemed we couldn't get a handle on it or we'd misfire. I think we had over 30 shots on net and a lot of good looks at the net tonight. We just weren't able to get any past them tonight."
NAIT's Jordan Papirny made 34 saves for the shutout, while Marc-Olivier Daigle stopped 29 for the Griffins.
"Daigle played really solid. The (game-winning goal) was a miscue on lost coverage. It was off a faceoff point shot and their guy ended up wide open in the front of the net and banged in a rebound," said Ringrose of Branden Klatt's first-period marker.
"Dags was really solid in the game and gave us an opportunity to stay in it, but when it comes down to it when we have six powerplay opportunities and we're not able to score … you can't win a game if you're not going to score any goals."
Consider it an anomaly for a Griffins team that entered the game with an ACAC best 66 goals for in 12 games – an average of 5.5 a contest. Ringrose says they just need to find a way to bear down in the front of the net.
"There were a lot of good chances, some scrambles in the goalmouth that we just weren't able to capitalize on – loose pucks, rebounds sitting in the crease as they were kind of scrambling down and out," he said. "Their goalie played pretty well, but we've got to find a way to get to those pucks and put those in the back of the net."
Colton Waltz made it 2-0 Ooks on a powerplay tally with 1:21 remaining before Tanner Younghans hit an empty net with 38 seconds left to ice it.
The rivals will meet in the weekend rematch on Saturday (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, ACAC TV).