Griffins embracing 'Next Shift' mindset as they aim for complete-game performances at TWU

The Griffins celebrate a goal by Kadyn Chabot against UBC last month (Derek Harback photo).
The Griffins celebrate a goal by Kadyn Chabot against UBC last month (Derek Harback photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – They've had a bye week to reset and move on, but the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team has put even more emphasis on what that truly means since they last played on Oct. 28 vs. UBC.

Their strategy of focusing only on their next shift has come into clearer focus. The past and the future are in the distant periphery.

Head coach Zack Dailey has no doubt that if the team can fully embrace that mental mindset, they're going to find success in the Canada West men's hockey ranks.

"Regardless of whether things are going well or not, our effort and focus needs to be the same no matter what," he said. "Just focusing on their next shift (is key). 

"We don't have to focus on results, we don't have to focus on whether we're having a good or bad period. Regardless of what's going on, if we can focus on our next shift and what we need to do in that shift to be good, I think overall that will lead to success."

MacEwan (2-7-1) heads into a big road series in Langley, B.C. this weekend at Trinity Western (2-8-0) on Friday (8:15 p.m. MT) and Saturday (2 p.m. MT, both Canada West TV). They're just a point ahead of the Spartans in the standings and just one back of Regina for the final playoff spot.

The Spartans, who are riding a two-game winning streak after sweeping Manitoba (0-9-1) last weekend, entered Canada West at the same time as MacEwan, but it doesn't necessarily mean their rivalry is more intense than any other matchup.

"I just think every team we play against is a good team and they play hard, so we want to beat them," said Dailey. "They're right below us in the standings, so that's definitely added motivation to create some separation. But we're just focused on playing good hockey and complete games right now."

That was the issue against UBC – MacEwan's last opponent Oct. 27-28 – when the Griffins played with the Thunderbirds for portions of the series before lapses cost them dearly in 5-2 and 7-2 losses.

"There have been times where stuff has gone south for us and I think our group dwelled on it," said Dailey. "I think that just having a 'what's important now' focus is going to be beneficial for our group."

The bye week itself allowed time for that mental mindset to set in as the Griffins cleared their minds, got healthy and moved forward.

"I think any time you can give guys a rest, especially time to heal nagging injuries, a little bit more time with school and family it's nice to kind of get a reset and get a break," said Dailey of the bye week. "I think guys came back on Monday ready to go and excited. I think it was a good week. We got to work on some stuff we don't normally need to work on, so we got some reps there. We cleaned a few things up. 

"We're excited and ready to go. I've been impressed with the guys this week in preparation for a big weekend."