Griffins blank Huskies 2-0 for first win in Saskatoon, huge six-point weekend

Ousman Maheshe, seen in action against Lethbridge on Friday, scored the game-winner for MacEwan on Sunday in Saskatoon (Lethbridge Sports photo).
Ousman Maheshe, seen in action against Lethbridge on Friday, scored the game-winner for MacEwan on Sunday in Saskatoon (Lethbridge Sports photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

SASKATOON – They hit the bus and hoped a weekend inter-provincial road trip would galvanize a group trying to find chemistry.

Mission accomplished.

On Sunday afternoon, the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team played its most complete game of the season to date, blanking the Saskatchewan Huskies 2-0 to complete a six-point weekend that pushes them to 2-1-1 and into second place in the Canada West Prairie Division.

The victory, on the heels of a 3-2 win at Lethbridge on Friday night, was also MacEwan's first-ever in Saskatoon since joining Canada West in 2014.

"It's big," said midfielder Chance Carter. "We've been waiting for this. Going into this weekend, we were saying how important getting six points was for us. I think this weekend we really showed what this team's capable of. 

"I think we're gelling well now – all the pieces and all the players are coming together – so it's nice to see we're getting that chemistry on and off the field. I think this weekend really showed that."

Rookie Ousman Maheshe, who spent the 2022 Canadian Premier League season with FC Edmonton before coming to MacEwan, cashed in on his prodigious skill level up front, netting his first goal as a Griffin in the 17th minute – a tally that would stand up as the winner.

"Sask was trying to play it out the back and it was just a messed-up pass into the midfield, so I nicked it and won it," said Carter. "I played Oush in, he beat one defender, cut to his left and finished far post."

Rakan Yassin scored his second goal of the weekend (and season) in the 64th minute to give the Griffins an insurance marker. The play started with Michael Ho, who won a ball in MacEwan's half and played it to Carter, who raced up field 30 yards before dumping it off to Egzon Jeteshi, who then hit Yassin on the left and the reigning MacEwan Male Athlete of the Year made no mistake, shaking a defender and depositing it far post.

"It was awesome," said head coach Adam Loga of the offensive output. "Quite frankly, we probably could have had a couple more. That was actually one of our topics at half-time – when we're on these waves and we have these opportunities, we have to bury them because sometimes these waves don't last."

They didn't need more than two, though, because of a complete defensive effort that limited the Huskies to just one shot on goal and helped goalkeeper Josh Stayko earn his first shutout of the season.

"I think Kelsey (Egwu) and Zach (Rochat) were big influences for us," said Carter. "They're vocal and physical in the back for us and (in midfield) we focused on their No. 10 (Diego Reveco). Tobie (Abass Ajibade) and I just were always aware, checking our shoulders and scanning, making sure he didn't get the ball, and if he did, just close it down right away. Defensively, we were tight, compact and didn't let much through. It was good to see."

So, the Griffins hit the iron lung for the five-hour trip back to Edmonton with smiles on their faces and a chance to build even more chemistry together off the field.

"The key to the win was simply working for each other and coming together, which we've been speaking about for about two weeks now," said Loga. "The road trip was beneficial to us, as we hoped it would be, and that's exactly what we did today."

Next, the Griffins host cross-town rival Alberta on Sept. 10 (12 p.m., Clarke Stadium, Canada West TV). 

Chance Carter, seen against Lethbridge on Friday, factored into both MacEwan goals and was also a big reason why they limited the Huskies to just one shot (Lethbridge Sports photo).