Griffins kick off West Coast road trip with rematch of 2021 playoff OT thriller vs. Victoria

Ricky Yassin scored two goals against Victoria the last time they met at Centennial Stadium in the 2021 playoffs (Armando Tura photo).
Ricky Yassin scored two goals against Victoria the last time they met at Centennial Stadium in the 2021 playoffs (Armando Tura photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Just as their Sept. 10 victory at Calgary's Dinosaur Field triggered some positive vibes, harkening back to the place where they clinched a playoff spot two years ago, Friday's road match has the potential to do the same for the Griffins men's soccer team.

The Griffins will visit the place where they nearly scored an upset in the opening round of the 2021 playoffs, taking on the Victoria Vikes Friday (8:15 p.m. MT, Canada West TV) in the 5,000-seat Centennial Stadium.

Seeded first in the Canada West playoff race that season, the Vikes needed overtime to dispatch the upstart Griffins, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie it in the 66th minute before running out of gas in the extra sessions, falling 6-3.

"They were a great team then and they're showing good results even now," said MacEwan head coach Adam Loga of the 3-1-2 Vikes. "To take them to overtime given the last half of the season we had in 2021 brings back great memories for those guys returning."

The Griffins are coming in with a 2-3-0 record, very much in the thick of the Prairie Division playoff race and are eager to put their last outing – a 6-0 loss to UBC – behind them. If there was a positive out of last Saturday's contest at Clarke Stadium, it's that several players got key minutes.

"If you're down 3-nil or up 5-nil, you need to utilize those minutes for the bigger picture because it's such a sprint," said Loga. "Last weekend, given the result … sure, the scoreboard wasn't great. But we were able to get a lot of guys minutes that needed them coming back from injury and eligibility issues. We used it to our advantage, for sure."

Last Sunday's match vs. Thompson Rivers University was postponed due to the air quality index, so the Griffins have had to wait six days for their next chance to right the ship. Also included on the weekend road trip is a visit to UFV (1-5-0) on Sunday (1:30 p.m. MT, Canada West TV).

"There's so much parity in this league because it is such a sprint," said Loga. "When you run the 100 metres, you win by tenths of a second vs. a marathon you win by a half hour. This season is a sprint, as we know, so there isn't much time to gain a greater margin on your opponent. 

"Every game's tough, every game's going to be tight. We've just got to stay disciplined and look after the details and we should be OK."