Griffins run into hungry Cougars, settle for weekend split after 4-2 Saturday loss

Loeden Schaufler, seen shooting in Friday's game, had two assists for the Griffins on Saturday (Calvin Hui photo).
Loeden Schaufler, seen shooting in Friday's game, had two assists for the Griffins on Saturday (Calvin Hui photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

REGINA, Sask. – While their opening-night performance is becoming something to behold, the encore is leaving a lot to be desired.

For a second-straight weekend, the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team followed up a gem with a mishap, settling for a series split with the Regina Cougars after a 4-2 Saturday night loss came on the heels of a 2-0 Friday win.

The same thing happened a week ago against the other Cougars team in the conference as MacEwan beat Mount Royal 3-2 on the Friday, only to crash back to earth with a 5-1 Saturday loss.

"I think it's a maturity thing," said MacEwan head coach Zack Dailey. "When you win the first game, the other team is going to come out hungry and, for the most part, we haven't matched that intensity the second game. It's taken us too long to get into games. 

"It's just the mindset that 'yes, it's going to be hard, but we're prepared for hard. We've done hard a whole bunch.' We just need to be ready to go from the start. 

"I think that's something we can hopefully figure out sooner rather than later, but it's definitely something we're focusing on."

With the result, the Griffins fall to 6-9-1, but remain three points ahead of Regina (4-10-2) for the final playoff spot in Canada West.

After losing to the Griffins on Friday, the Cougars came out hungry early on and staked themselves to a 2-0 lead on a pair of first period tallies by Eric Pearce.

"I think that they were desperate, and they clearly showed that they wanted it more, especially to start the game," said Dailey. "Again, they're a very good hockey team, so when you're not ready to go, you're going to get yourself into a hole and we couldn't dig ourselves out. 

"I thought we played much better in the third, but by that time the hole was too big, and we couldn't get out of it."

Kadyn Chabot's opening goal wasn't called in until after the officials conferred at the next whistle (Video: CanadaWest TV).

They were able to initially dig themselves out, after Kadyn Chabot scored two second-period goals to even the game. 

His first – 39 seconds into the middle frame on the powerplay – wasn't initially called a goal as from the head official's angle, it looked like his sharp angle shot hit the post.

"The puck went in and from the angle of the bench, I think we could see it a little bit better," said Dailey. "The lineseman, we were talking to him and he said 'yup, he saw it.' He noted the time, as well, but he couldn't stop play. So, we had to wait until the next stoppage in play. 

"Then they talked about it, and they all decided it was in. I believe it was in, so I thought it was the right call."

Chabot's second goal – his ninth of the season to match the program's single season Canada West record set last season by Ethan Strang – was a no doubter, though. Loeden Schaufler sent him in alone on a gorgeous stretch pass.

"It was a good head's up play," said Dailey. "Those are the off-scripted plays that guys are expected to make. That wasn't anything that was drawn up, it's just two guys making really good reads and executing, so that was great to see."


Kadyn Chabot's second goal - his ninth of the season - tied Ethan Strang's program rookie single season record (Video: CanadaWest TV).

But just after the Griffins tied it, bang-bang, Regina restored its two-goal advantage. Eric Houk and Matt Culling scored two minutes apart.

"We had climbed back, and we relaxed for too long," said Dailey. "We were like, 'oh, OK, good job, we got it back to even.' Then we relaxed instead of continuing to push. When we relaxed, we gave them a couple opportunities and they capitalized. 

"I think we didn't have the right mindset going into the game that this was a do-or-die. I think they had the right mindset, and they got the result."

Ashton Abel made 21 saves for the Griffins, while Adam Evanoff stopped 27 for the Cougars.

Next up for MacEwan is a home-and-home series with cross-town rival Alberta on Dec. 1-2 with Saturday's game at home (5 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).