Costly penalty parade derails strong Griffins' start in lopsided loss to Dinos

Calgary's Max Patterson, who scored twice on Friday, looks for an opening against MacEwan goaltender Eric Ward (Rebecca Chelmick photo).
Calgary's Max Patterson, who scored twice on Friday, looks for an opening against MacEwan goaltender Eric Ward (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – It seems wild to say MacEwan was in the driver's seat for a long time in an 8-1 loss to Calgary on Friday night, but that's exactly what was transpiring midway through the team's home opener.

The Griffins scored first, generated multiple early chances, and, buoyed by strong play from rookie goaltender Eric Ward, were at least keeping the powerful Canada West defending champions in check.

But the wheels fell off as spectacularly as possible, as the game devolved into a MacEwan parade to the penalty box that resulted in Calgary scoring five powerplay goals in the final 25 minutes with another coming seconds after a man advantage ended.

"They're a team that has a very good powerplay, so I'm really disappointed in our group with the undisciplined (play)," said MacEwan head coach Zack Dailey. "It doesn't matter who you're playing, if you give them a whole bunch of chances on the powerplay, it's probably not going to go well for you, let alone a team whose strength is their powerplay. 

"We'll watch video, we'll get better, but it doesn't really matter what system you're doing, if you give someone a whole bunch of chances, they're going to eventually score."

MacEwan opened the scoring with 6:09 left in the first period when rookie Samuel Simard finished off a great tic-tac-toe passing play from Jordan Taupert and Eduard Wruck for his second goal in as many games.

Jordan Taupert lunges for a loose puck in front of Calgary's Sean Strange on Friday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Calgary couldn't solve Ward for the first 32:40 of the game, finally getting a break when MacEwan turned over the puck in the neutral zone during a four-man line change, leading to a 3-on-0 goal by Tyson Upper off laser quick cross-crease passes by Noah King and Carter Massier.

The floodgates opened after that as the Griffins' great start unravelled one penalty at a time as MacEwan racked up 41 minutes in infractions.

"It's just a learning curve for our group that we can't quit," said Dailey. "We were in a game. We were undisciplined. It took away our momentum and we couldn't regain it. A lot of stuff to learn, but that's what happens when you stop playing for a bit, especially against a really good hockey team."

Ward, who finished with 40 saves, couldn't be faulted for a single goal of the eight. Besides the 3-on-0, four of them were tipped in (Goals 2, 3, 4 and 8 by Max Patterson, Jake Poole, Patterson again and Brendan De Jong), one was a rebound (Goal 5 by Colson Gegenbach), and two others were one-timers (Goals 6 and 7 by Connor Gutenberg and Dallon Melin, respectively).

"We pre-scouted," said Dailey of a Dinos team who are masters at shooting at sticks in front for deflections. "We know that's what they want to do, and we didn't do a good enough job in front of the net of taking away sticks."

Two Calgary players reached three points on the night with both King and Riley Stotts netting three assists each. Carl Stankowski made 15 saves for his first win of the season.

Next up for the Griffins (0-2-0) is a visit to Saskatoon Oct. 6-7 to meet the Saskatchewan Huskies.