Griffins respond with 3-2 win over Spartans to salvage fifth-straight weekend split

Ethan Strang, left, and Nic Correale chat before lining up for a face-off on Saturday (Tyler Jones photo).
Ethan Strang, left, and Nic Correale chat before lining up for a face-off on Saturday (Tyler Jones photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

LANGLEY, B.C. – Rookie defenceman Daniel Baker scored his first Canada West goal and NCAA Colorado College transfer Marc Pasemko netted the winner as the Griffins beat the Trinity Western Spartans 3-2 to salvage their fifth-straight weekend split.

While it's not the weekend sweep they were hoping for when they hopped on a plane from Edmonton, the Griffins will certainly take the points after putting up a dud in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Spartans.

They are now 5-5-0 on the season and have moved into a playoff position, while the Spartans drop to 1-8-3.

"It was a good response by our guys," said Griffins interim head coach Zack Dailey. "They're a team that works hard and skates well. We needed to match their effort and speed, and I thought we did a good job of doing that and setting the pace.

"We had a few injuries, so we ended up with four D on the back end. So, our defence did a great job of having to handle big minutes."

Chief among the rearguards on Saturday was Baker, the former Medicine Hat Tigers captain, who also added an assist to go with his second-period powerplay goal.

"He had a great night," said Dailey. "He was the quarterback on the powerplay, and he got a really nice goal there. I think he did a great job of running things and making sure everyone was executing plays. He was very good for us tonight."

Jordan Taupert opened the scoring for the Griffins 2:24 into the second period on the powerplay before Baker scored with the man advantage less than two minutes later. 

After the Spartans got back within one on Tanner Hopps' goal, Pasemko scored the eventual winner with 5:30 remaining in the middle frame.

"He's been good for us all year," said Dailey of the Colorado College transfer. "He sets the pace for our forwards in terms of skating and being on the forecheck, so I'm happy to see him get rewarded for his hard work."

Taupert, Baker and Pasemko all finished with two-point nights.

Jeremy Klessens got one back for the Spartans at 8:17 of the third period to make it interesting, but Griffins goaltender Ashton Abel shut the door from there, finishing with 25 saves on 27 shots.

MacEwan's powerplay, which Dailey praised as one of few bright spots in Friday's loss, really stood out again on Saturday, going 2-for-4.

"I think again our powerplay did a really good job for us in terms of turning momentum our way and scoring big goals for us," he said. "Our powerplay did a great job for us today."

The Griffins, now 5-5-0 on the season, finally return home after back-to-back B.C. road trips and will host Saskatchewan next Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (3 p.m., both Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).