CALGARY – Very rarely does a team win a hockey game with 10 shots, so it's no surprise the MacEwan Griffins were on the losing end of a tilt at Mount Royal University on Friday night.
They were snowed under by waves of MRU pressure throughout the evening and succumbed to a 4-0 defeat that drops them below .500 for the first time this season (2-3-0).
MRU improves to 4-2-1 after outshooting MacEwan 32-10. Riley Sawchuk scored twice to pace the Cougars, while Andrew Fyten and Ethan Regier also tallied and goaltender Jackson Berry recorded an easy shutout.
"I thought we didn't do a great job of generating shots tonight," said Griffins' interim head coach Zack Dailey. "We passed up some opportunities to try to make some plays and turned some pucks over.
"But we have to give them credit. I thought they were very good tonight. They skated hard and put a lot of pressure on us. We looked like a team that hadn't played in a couple weeks. We just got behind the eight-ball early and it was hard to get our feet under us."
The Griffins entered the contest off a bye week, so it's true they hadn't played in 13 days. But it's no secret what wins hockey games and MacEwan didn't have enough of it on Friday.
"I think just effort is the biggest thing," said Dailey. "We need to move our feet; we need to skate. They beat us to almost every race. When we got to races that were 50-50, they won the battle.
"I think moving our feet is going to help us significantly. I think just bearing down a little bit, winning some one-on-one battles and taking care of the puck, not turning over so many pucks."
That would be the mantra for Saturday's rematch (5 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).
As for Friday, there were a few positives. Goaltender Ashton Abel made 28 saves and stood tall with the puck stuck in MacEwan's end for a good portion of the contest.
"I thought Abel again was very, very good for us," said Dailey. "He made some really big saves.
"I thought our penalty kill did a pretty good job as well. They have a very dangerous powerplay and I thought we made some adjustments and guys executed pretty well."