Davis stands on his head with 50 saves, but Griffins fall 4-3 to Dinos on late goal

Thomas Davis made 50 saves for MacEwan in a 4-3 loss to Calgary on Thursday (Calgary Dinos photo).
Thomas Davis made 50 saves for MacEwan in a 4-3 loss to Calgary on Thursday (Calgary Dinos photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

CALGARY – A terrific performance by veteran goaltender Thomas Davis allowed the MacEwan Griffins to throw a scare into the No. 1-ranked team in Canada West on the opening night of the season Thursday evening.

Davis stood on his head with 50 saves – the third-most by a Griffins goaltender in a Canada West game – as the Calgary Dinos needed to rely on a late powerplay goal to record a 4-3 victory, despite outshooting MacEwan 54-17.

Davis was brilliant during the contest, stopping a 3-on-1 in the first period and coming up with other multiple robberies throughout.

"He was unbelievable and was the only reason we were in it at the end there," said Griffins head coach Zack Dailey. "There were a bunch of A+ chances and he gave us a chance to win. It was a very, very good performance by Thomas."

Davis is also the author of the two highest save games in the program's CW history as he stopped 58 vs. Saskatchewan and 52 vs. Mount Royal in games last season.

The victory for Calgary is their conference record 24th straight regular season win, stretching back to the 2022-23 campaign when they won the Canada West championship.

MacEwan, however, almost got a result as they fought back from a 3-1 second-period deficit to tie it, only to concede the winner with 6:01 left in the middle of a four-minute Dinos man advantage.

After Calgary's Dallon Melin opened the scoring 3:57 into the game, Liam Hughes stole the puck at the blueline and sent Ethan Strang in on a breakaway for the equalizer less than six minutes later.

After 22 first-period shots, the Dinos kept coming in the second and put another 16 on Davis, scoring twice on tallies by Conor Gutenberg and Jake Gricius to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

But plucky MacEwan gained energy off of Davis' amazing play in the crease with Brendan Boyle walking in off the left wall and sniping one glove side on Carl Tetachuk to pull the visitors within one 3:52 into the final frame. 

Just a minute-and-a-half later, Sam Simard potted the rebound off Vincent Scott's great short-handed rush – the first Canada West point for both rookies – and it was game on at 3-3.

"It's always positive when you're not playing a very good game and you're still in it and find ways to make it close," said Dailey. "That's certainly a positive but spotting a very good team about 45 minutes of not playing great is not a key to success. 

"If you want to take any positives out, it's that we did show a bit of resiliency and push-back in the third period there and made it a game."

Unfortunately, an errant high stick on Dinos' D-man Sean Strange that drew blood sent Jordan Taupert to the box for four minutes with just 7:05 left and Max Patterson tipped home Gricius' back-door pass for the winner.

There will be plenty for the Griffins to clean up ahead of their home opener on Friday night vs. the Dinos (7 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).


"I didn't like our D zone," said Dailey. "I thought our coverage was a little bit sloppy. We lost guys and they were able to create chances off our D zone coverage. Our neutral zone, we gave them just too much time and space. And then we turned over a ton of pucks. 

"I thought we were a little bit soft on the plays we were trying to make, so we need to make sure we're taking care of the puck. Obviously, this is a very, very good team and if you give them extra chances to score, they're probably going to make you pay."