Comrie plays double OT hero as Griffins beat No. 9 MRU for first time in Canada West

Sean Comrie scored the double overtime winner for the Griffins in a 3-2 win over MRU on Saturday (Joel Kingston photo).
Sean Comrie scored the double overtime winner for the Griffins in a 3-2 win over MRU on Saturday (Joel Kingston photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — The MacEwan Griffins certainly got the message.

After firing just 10 shots on goal in their 4-0 loss on Friday night to the Mount Royal Cougars, the Griffins responded with one of the biggest wins in program history after a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 double overtime victory over Mount Royal Saturday night at the Downtown Community Arena.

Defenceman Sean Comrie was the overtime hero, scoring 3:42 into the second OT.

Neithan Salame and Ryley Appelt scored the other markers for the Griffins, while Riley Sawchuk and Nathan Gilliss replied for Mount Royal.

Ashton Abel made 28 saves, as MacEwan knocked off the No. 9 ranked Cougars for the first time in the school's Canada West history.

"This is a good step forward for our program. We were definitely disappointed in our effort (Friday). We talked as a group and said, that's not it. That's not what we were about," said Griffins interim head coach Zack Dailey.

"We wanted to come out and be consistent in our effort tonight, be first to pucks and try and win those one-on-one battles, and the biggest difference tonight is we competed so much harder."

It was an entertaining and action-packed overtime session that was finished off by Comrie's OT heroics.

"I saw (Marc) Pasemko rolling up the wall, and I wanted to do a little bit of a switch with him, He lost the puck, and I picked it up with my skate, and I think he thought I was going to pass, but I beat him to the outside and tried to get it on net," said Comrie, who has already equalled his goal total from last season, with two.

"It's my biggest goal as a Griffin, so far. Hopefully I get some more big ones."

The Cougars opened the scoring, just five minutes into the contest when Sawchuk ripped home a pass from behind the net for his league-leading seventh goal of the season.

The Griffins had all kinds of pressure in the first period, firing 13 shots towards Jackson Berry, and they were rewarded when Appelt scored his second goal of the season with 3:47 remaining, but the Cougars would waste no time regaining the lead, as Gilliss made it 2-1 for the visitors just 1:35 later.

Despite giving up a late goal, the Griffins continued to push in the second period and were able to tie it at 2-2 as Salame made a nice move along the wall to chip the puck past the defender to break in along the right wing, and the rookie d-man made no mistake beating Berry over the glove and off the crossbar to tie it at 2-2.

"It goes to show the leadership we have. Things can get tough, but we can handle it and weather the storm and we keep pushing," said Dailey.

"I'm very proud of our group and the leaders that we have. We had a lot of guys step up tonight."

Ashton Abel stares down a point blank chance from MRU on Saturday (Joel Kingston photo).

After giving up the tying goal in the second period, Mount Royal came out with vengeance on their mind in the third period, but the Griffins and Abel stood their ground.

Abel saved his best for the third period, making several big stops, including a quick reaction toe save on the doorstep in the late stages of the third off Cougars forward Nolan Yaremko, and then in the dying seconds of the third when he made a beautiful stick save off of forward Spencer Moe.

"I wasn't even focusing on how much time was left, I just knew I needed to make that save," said Abel, on the breakaway save in the final minute of the game.

"This is a big win for our program. I think we've established ourselves as a team that can beat anyone in this league. We're going to fight and battle every single night."

The Griffins' penalty kill has been very leaky to start the season – ranked dead last in the conference after giving up 12 power play goals – but their PK units were outstanding on Saturday, snuffing out the high octane offence of the Cougars, who finished the game 0 for 5 with the man advantage.

In fact, the Griffins won the special teams battle, as the OT winner came on the power play.

"It's something we've put a lot of time and effort and pride in. We made some adjustments, but it comes down to blocking shots, getting in lanes, and putting pressure on guys, and I thought we did a great job of that tonight," said Dailey.

"We were patient and structured and competed hard, and when we got our opportunity, we struck. They're a really great hockey team over there, and I have a lot to be proud of the guys tonight.

"I hope this gives our guys confidence. When we out compete teams and manage the puck, we're a good hockey team. I told the guys, we're not going to win every night, but if we compete, and do things the right way, we can compete with anyone. Now, it's about building that consistency."