Griffins unable to cash in at offensive end in 4-1 loss to Huskies

Jayme Doyle, seen getting a scoring chance against Manitoba last month, scored the lone goal for the Griffins on Saturday at Saskatchewan (Joel Kingston photo).
Jayme Doyle, seen getting a scoring chance against Manitoba last month, scored the lone goal for the Griffins on Saturday at Saskatchewan (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

-With files from Huskies Athletics

SASKATOON – The ability to capitalize on opportunities proved to be the difference between the Saskatchewan Huskies and MacEwan Griffins women's hockey teams on Saturday.

The Huskies buried theirs and the Griffins didn't, adding up to a 4-1 loss for MacEwan in Canada West action.

It's the second-straight night the Huskies recorded a 4-1 win over MacEwan, completing the weekend sweep to move to 11-5-2-0 in the standings, dropping the Griffins to 6-10-0-0.

"I actually thought it was a pretty even, back and forth game," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "I thought our zone possession today was even better than yesterday. We had a lot more time in the offensive zone and did a good job getting pucks in early, getting the D on their heels and creating some chances off that forecheck. But credit to their goaltender. She made some saves when she needed to.

"It's still a work in progress for us to bury the puck."

Huskies goalie Colby Wilson was credited with 12 saves, while Brianna Sank stopped 31 for the Griffins.

Saskatchewan's Bronwyn Boucher opened the scoring with just four seconds remaining in the first period with her first-career U SPORTS goal.

From there, Saskatchewan added two more in the second period as Meg Dyer and Kennedy Brown each found the back of the net to give the home side a three-goal lead after 40 minutes.

But MacEwan had a response, as Jayme Doyle notched her third goal of the season – a beauty off a pass from Mackenzie Dachuk.

"Ironically, we talk about creating havoc at the net front and popping in that garbage goal and getting that lucky bounce," said McAlpine about creating offence. "Tonight, that ended up being a beautiful feed from Mackenzie Dachuk out of the far corner. Doyle streaked in and she hit her back door. She was able to get it up and over Wilson very quickly."

However, the Huskies quickly shut the door on any potential comeback opportunity. After a Griffins penalty, the green-and-white got to work on the man-advantage. Abby Shirley delivered a beauty dish into Kate Ball, who made no mistake to put the game away at 10:37 of the third.

Despite the loss, McAlpine wasn't displeased with her team's play. Other than not being able to score enough, they had winning habits on display.

"I was again happy with our team's performance in our work ethic and consistency in systems," she said. "We just came up against a team that capitalized on some powerplay opportunities again and some Grade A chances. On the flip side, we struggled to put the puck in the net."

What hurts is it puts a crimp in MacEwan's playoff aspirations, knocking them squarely into eighth in the conference, now four points back of Regina for the final playoff spot with two games in hand. Also, the Calgary Dinos sit in between in seventh, two points ahead of MacEwan.

"The process for us has always been the focus for us since the start of the year," noted McAlpine. "We're playing three very solid teams to finish here, but I hope we can continue to build off of what we did today into another important weekend against the U of A."

Next up for the Griffins is a home-and-home series against cross-town rival Alberta Feb. 11-12 with Friday's game at the Downtown Community Arena (7 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op).