PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Early golden chances that went unconverted by the MacEwan Griffins came back to haunt them later in Sunday's match at the UNBC Timberwolves.
Using a pair of late first-half tallies by Anthony Preston, the T'Wolves gained control of the match and cruised to a 3-1 win in Canada West men's soccer action.
The Griffins launched six shots (four on target) in the opening 27 minutes of the game but had nothing to show for it before Preston scored 35th and 43rd-minute goals for the home team.
"I think all season, we've put ourselves in very, very positive positions to win each game, maybe outside of one," said Griffins head coach Adam Loga. "We just have to bear down on our chances early. It could have very easily been two or three nil before half an hour in.
"Then a half chance they capitalized on, and we were again chasing the game."
They chased all second half and Ousman Maheshe finally found paydirt for the Griffins in the 83rd minute.
As MacEwan was pressing for the equalizer, though, U SPORTS leading scorer Michael Henman had other plans, notching his 15th goal of the season in the 86th minute to put the game out of reach.
Maheshe was named game MVP for the Griffins with a goal and a match-high four shots on target in 90 minutes of action.
Kelsey Egwu passes the ball under pressure from UNBC's Toranosuke Omori on Sunday (Rich Abney photo).
"It's a game of chances – who puts them away and who doesn't," said Loga. "That's footie. Unfortunately, we didn't today. We've been struggling to as of late.
"On the positive side, we've put ourselves in very positive positions to win almost every game this season, so hopefully we can find it and find out what it is as we move forward and go on a bit of a run here."
With the result, their third-straight loss, the Griffins fall back to 2-4-3 and into fourth place in the Prairie Division. That's still a playoff spot – four points clear of Saskatchewan – and the race will ultimately be decided in divisional battles over the next few weeks.
Last season, that's when the Griffins caught fire and were one of the hottest teams in the league entering the post-season. If they can just bottle that and do it again …
"We're right there, we're almost there," said Loga. "There's just a couple intangible pieces we need to clean up and grow in certain areas. Goals are measurable. I think some of these things we're missing are not and we just have to find them."