Griffins can only hold off nationally-ranked Cougars for so long in 3-0 defeat

Kallie O'Hearn tries to split the Mount Royal defence on Friday night (Joel Kingston photo).
Kallie O'Hearn tries to split the Mount Royal defence on Friday night (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Tianna Ko plucked a turnover in her own end and went coast to coast just 21 seconds into the third period to score the only goal the Mount Royal University Cougars would need in a 3-0 win over the MacEwan Griffins in Canada West women's hockey action on Friday night.

The Griffins had done a solid job of holding the fort, keeping the game scoreless through the first two periods. But without much of an offensive attack, the home squad could only hang with the No. 6 team in U SPORTS for so long.

"Definitely not our strongest effort tonight," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "I was disappointed in that area of our game after a really strong UBC game, but credit to Mount Royal. They're ranked sixth in the nation for a reason. They play with tons of speed, great puck movement and they kind of come at you waves.

"I think we held on for as long as we could and then they were able to break it open unfortunately."

The Cougars scored two late goals inside the final three minutes to salt away their fifth win of the season (now 5-1-1). MacEwan falls to 2-5-0 with the loss.

Epitomizing the Griffins' struggles to generate an offensive push, they had a two-man advantage for more than a minute late in the first period and didn't even register a shot.

They did put 20 pucks on MRU goaltender Zoe De Beauville, but outside of Mackenzie Dachuk's hot shot in the third period, which forced her to flash the leather, it was largely a night of routine saves for the shutout.

Ko finished with two goals for the Cougars after wiring home Courtney Kollman's cross-seam pass for the insurance marker with 2:46 left. Mackenzie Butz added MRU's third tally just 1:10 later when her point blast found its way past a screened Natalie Bender.

Bender made 32 saves in the defeat, including some gems such as her robbery on Kollman's second period one-timer from in tight.

McAlpine noted the team will certainly need a better effort in their second game of the weekend on Saturday when they welcome Calgary (3:15 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).

They must get back to their gritty hard-forechecking style that they managed to implement for a portion of the second period on Friday, but not for long enough to make a difference in the contest.

"I think we talk about that almost daily, that consistency in our play and our effort," said McAlpine. "That needs to be better heading into a big game against U of C."