Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Goalkeeper Seth Johnstone stopped a penalty shot among his six saves and rookie Michael Enes scored as the MacEwan Griffins earned a 1-1 draw with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in Canada West men's soccer action on Saturday night.
Johnstone benefitted from a pre-match scouting report to stone TRU's James Fraser on a 64th minute penalty kick and preserve a point for the Griffins.
"We had in our game notes that their No. 9, all his penalty kicks have been down the middle," said head coach Adam Loga. "Seth knew that before the game. He stepped up and made the save. It went right down the middle. Doing our research and homework paid off today."
Johnstone was named MVP of the match for the Griffins, who were fortunate to pick up a point after being outshot by the homestanding WolfPack 18-6 (7-4 on goal).
"Seth had another solid game, a solid weekend," said Loga. "I couldn't be prouder of him. He's just such a leader for us in the back. He's an extension of the staff's voice back there and he keeps them going."
Enes put the Griffins out front early in the match, one-touching a Rakan Yassin pass past TRU keeper Jackson Gardner in the 12th minute.
"We won the ball and broke the midfield line, turned and played it out wide to Ricky," noted Loga. "One nice touch past the defender, Ricky cut it back for a one-touch finish by Enes.
"The fab five up top can make something out of nothing and they did just that."
But the WolfPack struck back in the 40th when Dylan Hooper beat a defender wide and crossed it in to Fraser, who made no mistake.
MacEwan was outshot 14-3 in the second half, but they survived to earn a point.
"I think it's safe to say they had the better of us over 90 minutes," said Loga. "That being said, we let them play out the back, we knew it was coming long every time. Basically, we knew what we were in for. We knew we could handle it, so we let them have it. That being said, I think we were against it a little bit in the second half for sure."
There is no picture on the scorecard, though, so the Griffins pick up a point and improve to 1-3-2 on the campaign. TRU is now 1-1-4.
"We talked before the game that our setback so far this year and some of the bad times we've endured last season and so far this season have inspired growth for us," said Loga.
"We've kept things positive and I think gutting this out today to grab that point is something that wouldn't have happened last year. I couldn't be prouder of the development of the boys and the growth of the group."
The Griffins return home to host UBC on Sept. 21 (2:30 p.m., Commonwealth Stadium) and UNBC on Sept. 22 (2:30 p.m., Clarke Stadium). TRU visits Mount Royal University and Lethbridge on the same dates, respectively.