Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Round 1 of the battle between the newest teams in Canada West ended in a knockout punch.
The MacEwan Griffins scored four powerplay goals and clobbered the visiting Trinity Western Spartans 7-0 on Friday night for their first home Canada West victory that also snaps a six-game losing streak.
It's also the first shutout for the Griffins at the Canada West level and the honour of securing it belongs to Ty Taylor, who made 29 saves for the first goose-egg of his U SPORTS career after transferring from NCAA New Hampshire.
"Ty did a really good job," said Griffins head coach Mike Ringrose. "I thought he had to find some pucks through traffic tonight. He was seeing it for sure. A credit to him. He had to work for the result he got tonight. It was nice to see. He deserved it."
Taylor had plenty of offensive support as five Griffins recorded multi-point nights, led by Curtis Roach's goal and three assists. Chase Thudium scored twice and added a helper, while Kole Gable (1G, 2A), Riley Brandt (1G, 1A) and David Kope (2A) helped blow the doors off the scoreboard.
"It was really good for our team, for our forward group because we've been kind of struggling the last few games scoring goals," said Thudium. "This was good and (we hope to) continue this going forward."
Thudium opened the scoring just 4:56 into the game when he tipped Kole Gable's powerplay blast past TWU starter Berk Berkeliev.
Captain Ethan Price made it 2-0 just under two minutes later as MacEwan scored on two of their first three shots, setting the tone for the evening.
"I think a few guys have been gripping their sticks a bit the last little while," said head coach Mike Ringrose. "It's been tough. It's not easy to score at this level. So, to have a few guys break out and find the back of the net, that's a good thing. Credit to them. They worked to get the offensive opportunities and when they got them, they buried."
Sean Comrie's powerplay snipe, blocker side from the top of the circle made it 3-0 MacEwan before the first period was done.
Jordan Taupert hunts for the puck deep in the zone on Friday. The floodgates opened for the Griffins in a 7-0 triumph (Joel Kingston photo).
Berkeliev was chased from the net when Brandt scored just 1:23 into the second period to make it 4-0, giving way to former Griffins goaltender Talor Joseph. While he let in the first shot he faced two minutes later – a powerplay tally by Gable – and missed a powerplay point shot by Roach later in the second, the Sherwood Park native came up with some solid saves, finishing with 23 stops.
Thudium rounded out the scoring with No. 7 for the Griffins at 15:40 of the third, capitalizing on a lucky bounce.
"I was a little bit lucky on the rebound there," he said of scoring off a blocked shot that landed back on his stick. "I was just thinking of using the D-man there as a screen, so I just tried to pull and drag. He blocked it and it was lucky enough to end up on my tape. I just quickly threw it low glove."
Taylor had to make a few tough stops to finish with the shutout, including getting a shoulder on a hot second period shot from Hayden Guilderson and robbing Brayden Brown on a point-blank one-timer just over a minute into the third.
"It's really good," said Taylor of netting his first shutout. "It's a group effort. No one does it by themselves. You've got to enjoy it when it happens and then move on for tomorrow night's game."
For the record, Taylor was more enamoured with the blocked shots from the guys in front of him than any of his saves.
"There was a ton," he noted. "I said after the game I really appreciated it. I know it sucks blocking shots and a lot of the guys don't like doing it, but it helps us win. I really appreciate it, especially with five minutes to go and we're up 7-0. We don't really have to block shots, but they were bearing down and blocking shots anyway, so I really appreciate it."
With the result, the Griffins improve to 3-6-0, while TWU falls to 0-9-0.
The teams will meet again on Saturday (4 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).