Outworked and in tough against a hot goalie, Griffins fall 7-1 to Bisons

Ashton Abel faces a point blank chance from Manitoba's Dylan Thiessen on Friday (Dave Mahussier photo).
Ashton Abel faces a point blank chance from Manitoba's Dylan Thiessen on Friday (Dave Mahussier photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

WINNIPEG – They ran into a hot goalie and a physical well-rested Manitoba Bisons team with plenty of elbow grease and gumption. 

The result wasn't pretty for the MacEwan Griffins, who finished on the wrong side of a 7-1 score-line in Canada West men's hockey play on Friday night.

"I just think it was a case of we were outcompeted tonight," said MacEwan interim head coach Zack Dailey. "I think our guys did a great job of skating, but in terms of the one-on-one battles, I don't think we did a very good job. 

"We kind of got behind the eight-ball early. They scored a minute into the game and we were kind of chasing it from there. Just some mental mistakes that happened. I think they're easy fixes, but we played a team that works very hard and they're physical and we were weren't ready to match that tonight."

With the result, the Bisons (5-8-0) closed to within two points of the Griffins (6-7-0) for the final playoff spot in the conference.

It wasn't like the Griffins had nothing going. They did pour 47 shots on Bisons netminder Ross Hawryluk, but only managed to get one past him – a mid third-period tally by Marc Pasemko with the score already well out of reach.

"He did play well," said Dailey of Hawryluk. "We have to give him credit. They played a good game tonight, especially their goalie. I didn't think we did a great job of getting traffic in front of him. A lot of the pucks he stopped he could see, and their D did a really good job of clearing out rebounds. 

"So, that's going to be a focus tomorrow, trying to get to the net and make his life a little bit harder."

On the flip side, the Griffins didn't control their net front as Manitoba crowded the crease and got some greasy ones, scoring five goals on 27 shots to chase starter Ashton Abel after 33:21, and adding another two on 14 shots against Thomas Davis.

"I think the biggest thing was just net front," said Dailey, whose team gave up two powerplay goals on four Bisons opportunities. "There were a couple rebounds that went in that I thought our group as a whole could have collapsed a lot harder and helped on net front. They're easy fixes, but it takes a lot of work and commitment to doing hard stuff."

Devon Skoleski led the Bisons with two goals and two assists, while Linden McCorrister had two goals and Brett Davis notched a goal and two helpers.

The teams will meet again on Saturday (1 p.m. MT, Canada West TV).