Griffins will take time to reflect after tough inaugural season comes to an end with 5-1 loss to Alberta

Ty Taylor made 39 saves in a 5-1 loss to Alberta on Saturday night (Joel Kingston photo).
Ty Taylor made 39 saves in a 5-1 loss to Alberta on Saturday night (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Growing pains were expected in the level-up from ACAC to Canada West hockey.

So, as the MacEwan Griffins move forward past their inaugural season in the U SPORTS men's hockey ranks, they will take time to reflect, change and grow.

Their 2021-22 campaign came to an end with a 5-1 loss to cross-town rival Alberta on Saturday night.

MacEwan will finish with a 3-17-0-0 record after losing their final 11 games of the season.

"When you break it all down, there certainly were lessons learned across the board," said head coach Mike Ringrose of a tough season. "Each guy faced different levels of adversity this year at different times. Sometimes that was handled well and sometimes it wasn't.

"When we take a little bit of time here to sit back and reflect on what happened this season as it played out, I think there's lots to take away," he continued. "Like I said to my guys at the end of the game tonight, we need to take time. Be happy about how we finished the last three weeks. We did some good things, but we've got to reflect on the entire season."

They were affected by a COVID outbreak early in the campaign that derailed a 2-0 start and lost their two best players – Riley Brandt and Ethan Price – early in the second semester after they turned pro.

And at the end of it all, everyone on the team will be reflecting on what they can change for the better.

"We need to learn and grow as a program," said Ringrose. "Each of those guys has some work to do and so do we as a staff. We have to evaluate the way we're doing things. With a year under our belt at this level, it's going to be important to take the time and not be scared to make changes if we need to make them. That's a big takeaway for me.

"We've got so many areas to grow. We have to be surgical and strategic in what we're going to do this off-season and what we're going to change heading into next year. We've got to get better."

Saturday's finale was case in point. The Griffins were outplayed by a large margin and the score would have been worse if not for the play of goaltender Ty Taylor, who made 39 saves, including stopping 34 of the first 35 shots he faced.

"He was unbelievable tonight," said Ringrose. "I'm not sure there was one or two or three (saves) I could single out. He was just very focused and very determined to put it all out there tonight. He was competitive right from the get-go. It was an impressive performance."

Taylor, a Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, will finish the campaign with 395 saves – third-most in Canada West – a. 4.16 GAA and .890 save percentage.

"I thought they had a lot of jump early in the game tonight," said Ringrose. "They came out a fair bit harder than they did last week and Ty was exceptional in the first period and kept us in the hockey game.

"In the second period, our game got a little bit better and we were able to bang one in there. Unfortunately, we gave up one late. Heading into the third, again, it was a team that's been in that situation before that was able to pull away. It's a very similar plot line to the game from a week prior."

Jordan Taupert scored MacEwan's lone goal in the contest, while Alberta replied with two each from Eric Florchuk and Nolan Volcan, and one from Noah Philp.