Austin Connelly, For MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Just 23 seconds into a three-on-three double overtime period on Saturday, Jordan Taupert played hero for the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team.
The rookie forward from Beaumont roofed a rebound in tight past Red Deer College goaltender Nathan Alalouf to give the Griffins a 4-3 victory in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference action at the Downtown Community Arena.
"I thought we deserved the four points all weekend," said Taupert. "It was nice to bury that one and get the win."
The result gave the Griffins a weekend sweep over their rivals and pushed their record to 11-5-0-0, just four points shy of the Kings (12-2-2-0) for second place in the ACAC standings.
"These points were crucial against a very good Red Deer team," said interim head coach Sean Ringrose. "We are really proud of our guys' effort this weekend; they battled all weekend and it showed in us getting four points."
MacEwan also beat the Kings on Friday, triumphing 4-2 in Red Deer.
On Saturday, Zach Aston kicked off the scoring late in the first period when his point shot went through a crowd and found the back of the net for his first career ACAC goal.
"I've been waiting to help the boys out offensively for a while now, so it felt really good," said the St. Albert native of his first career university goal.
After mustering just 17 shots on Friday night in Red Deer, the Griffins were able to bounce back in a major way, creating a ton of offence – topping that total in the first period alone with 20.
Marc-Olivier Daigle was sensational once again for the Griffins tossing aside 15 shots in the frame, including a few key stops on the penalty kill to keep the score 1-0.
The Griffins would double their lead just 1:30 into the second period, after an incredible effort from rookie Kole Gable, who chipped the puck around his defender and quickly fired it top shelf in tight on the powerplay.
Before the period was up, Mathieu Lapointe got the Kings on the board with a slapshot from the left side that would fool Daigle – one of just 31 shots to elude him in the first 40 minutes.
The MacEwan netminder's strong play continued in the third period when he slid across his crease for a sensational pad stack save to deny the tying goal on the powerplay.
Shortly after, though, Austin Hunter scored to tie it as a puck was thrown from behind the net and it took a favourable bounce and past Daigle. Lapointe then scored his second of the game with 6:52 remaining in the third.
"It's not the first time this year we've been down and needed a goal late to tie the game," said Ringrose. "For our guys to come back, claw and grind to get the win, it just speaks to the character of this group."
Regulation and four on four overtime solved nothing until Taupert played hero and sent Griffins fans home happy.
Daigle finished with 40 saves for MacEwan, while Alalouf stopped 42 for RDC. Taupert and Lapointe were named players of the game.
MacEwan will look to extend its two-game win streak when they hit the road to face Concordia on Jan. 17 (7 p.m., Clareview Arena, ACAC TV).