-With files from Alberta Athletics
EDMONTON – The Griffins men's hockey team had nothing to show after firing 40 shots at Alberta Golden Bears goaltenders over the weekend.
A night after being blanked 5-0 at the Downtown Community Arena, they came up on the short end of a 6-0 result on Saturday at the Clare Drake.
"I thought both their goaltenders played well this weekend," said MacEwan head coach Michael Ringrose. "We had chances, couldn't find a way to beat either of them.
"That's tough to go a weekend and not score a goal, but it wasn't for lack of opportunity. I thought we had our chances, we just couldn't find a way to make them count."
After Taz Burman engineered a 21-save shutout on Friday, it was Nick Schneider's turn for a 19-save goose-egg on Saturday.
Of course, the Golden Bears had more than double the Griffins' shot count over the weekend – 85 total, including putting 36 shots on Saturday starter James Porter – and were full marks for both victories.
"Obviously the Bears are an elite program with a storied history," said Ringrose, who is guiding a team in its inaugural Canada West season in 2021-22. "They're a perennial contender at the U SPORTS level. For us, we're trying to close the gap with where we're at now and that team. We have to understand that it's going to be a process. It's not going to happen overnight.
"We just need to continue to focus on making strides and improving. If I compare this series to the one we played at the end of preseason, there were certainly some takeaways for us as a group that we can be happy with. We'll go back and get back to work and go from there."
Despite Saturday's score, Ringrose saw some improvements over Friday when the team was undone by turnovers.
"I didn't think that was as big an issue tonight," he said. "I thought we managed pucks a little bit better. As a result, we gave up less in transition and spent less time in our end. That was certainly an improvement over last night.
"That's an elite team and they're good in that rink. There was about a five-minute stretch in the second period where they really got it going and found a way to score a few goals. We were reeling a little bit, but I thought got it back on the rails. It looked like we ran out of gas a little bit in the third period. Both teams looked tired to me."
Rookie Bear Tyler Preziuso recorded his first career hat-trick, scoring once in the third, and both insurance markers in the third period.
Eric Florchuck, Ryan Hughes and Jared Freadrich also scored for Alberta, who finished the first semester with a 9-2-1 record, and the No. 2 seed in Canada West.
After the weekend sweep, MacEwan concludes their first half with a 3-9-0 record, and the eighth spot in CW.
Next action for the Griffins is an exhibition home-and-home series against old ACAC rival NAIT Jan. 7-8. They'll resume Canada West conference play with a road trip to Manitoba Jan. 14-15.