Unable to generate enough offensive pressure, Griffins fall to 4-2 defeat against Cougars

David Kope scores his second goal of the game late in the third period, but it wasn't enough as the Griffins fell 4-2 to the MRU Cougars (Joel Kingston photo).
David Kope scores his second goal of the game late in the third period, but it wasn't enough as the Griffins fell 4-2 to the MRU Cougars (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Outshot more than 2-to-1 after failing to generate much in the way of offensive pressure, the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team fell 4-2 to the visiting Mount Royal University Cougars in Canada West action on Friday night.

Ethan Regnier scored twice, while Brad Kennedy had a goal and two assists for the Cougars, who move to 9-5-0-1 in the Canada West standings after the win.

Rookie David Kope paced MacEwan with two goals, both off of great Zach Webb passes, but it wasn't enough as the Griffins suffered their sixth-straight loss, falling to 3-12-0-0.

"I thought we struggled to get pucks back and generate zone time," said MacEwan head coach Mike Ringrose, whose team put just 16 shots on MRU goaltender Riley Morris. "I thought especially as the game wore on, they did a really good job of getting back to pucks, their goaltender did a good job playing pucks out of the zone and they won the wall.

"We weren't able to generate the zone time that you need to be successful. Credit to them; when we did have zone time I thought they did a good job filling lanes, so it was tough to get pucks to the net."

MacEwan netminder Ty Taylor, who stopped 32 of 35 in the contest, gave his team a chance; the Griffins were down only 3-2 when he was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:30 left.

Taylor had a couple of highlight-reel stops in the contest, most notably robbing Ryley Lindgren on a point-blank first period one-timer by lunging towards him with his blocker. He also took away a sure goal from Riley Sawchuk late in the second with a great stretch to get a pad on it.

"I thought he battled and made some good saves and gave us a chance to stick around, and push a little bit in the end," said Ringrose. "We're going to need a solid effort in the pipes again tomorrow."

Ty Taylor made 32 saves for the Griffins on Friday night (Joel Kingston photo).

After a scoreless first period, MRU got on the board 5:49 into the middle frame when Brad Kennedy peeled the puck out of a scramble and sent it past Taylor on the blocker side.

But the Griffins tied it at 12:05 off an odd-man rush when Webb found Kope and he wired it high past Morris.

The Cougars regained the lead before the second was out, however, hemming the Griffins in their own zone in the final minute and finally getting rewarded for that pressure when Regnier went unchecked in front and blasted it past Taylor glove side.

Regnier scored what would turn out to be the game-winner 7:09 into the third period, but the Kope-Webb combo made it interesting in the end.

Webb found Kope for a back-door tap-in with jut 2:42 left to pull the Griffins within striking distance.

"That was nice to get two," said Kope. "Both great feeds by Webb, so all the credit should go to him.

"He does a good job of finding me. He always knows where I am, so it's just being ready for the puck because you never know when he's going to pass it."

But the Griffins could get no closer as MRU's Sawchuk hit an empty net to ice it just nine seconds after MacEwan got the extra attacker out.

The teams will meet again on Saturday (5 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV presented by Co-op). For the Griffins to be successful, they must push the pace more.

"I think for us we've just got to move our feet," said Ringrose. "We did a lot of gliding and watching, both with the puck and without the puck tonight.

"We've got to get back to skating. We didn't move our feet tonight, so hopefully we've got lots left in the tank for tomorrow."